Not all apps are created equal: Mobile apps vs mobile-optimised web apps

If your business or organisation is thinking about creating a mobile presence, one of the first things to consider is whether to create a mobile application or a mobile-optimised web application.

Mobile apps and web apps can look very similar but determining which one is best suited to your needs will come down to a number of factors including the purpose it serves, the audience you wish to target, the budget you have to work with and required features within the app.

So, what is the difference between a mobile app and a web app?

Mobile app - the one you download

A mobile app is a program or file that has to be downloaded to a smart phone or mobile device from an online store such as Apple’s App Store or Google Play. The app is then saved to the device and often does not require an internet connection to operate, unless it is the kind of app that instantaneously shares new and updated information such as a news app or social media app.

Web app - the one in your browser

A mobile-optimised web app can be accessed and viewed directly through an internet browser on a mobile device. When the user arrives at the web app, the look and feel often comes across much like a mobile app because it is designed for smaller handheld display with a touch-screen interface. No downloading of files is required to use a web app which is one of its major benefits. All it needs is an internet connection.

RELATED: Click here for a detailed technical breakdown of the pros and cons of native, cross-platform and hybrid apps

So, which one is better?

It all depends on how people will use the app and what they are using it for.

But we believe every organisation should optimise for mobile, whether that is through a mobile app or a web app that has a responsive or adaptive design.

Australians love their mobile devices so much they have one of the highest smartphone penetration rates in the world. As such, the use of mobile apps and web browsing on mobile has grown significantly. With this level of consumption, brands and organisations have a great opportunity to get in front of keen Australian mobile users.

RELATED: Hybrid mobile apps: Reach more people, faster and cheaper

Choosing The Right App

Choosing the right app for your business

A mobile app is intended to remain on the user’s mobile device, making it ideal for everyday use. However, the app would need to be created to serve a purpose that requires frequent use. For example, it would need to offer a service, solve a recurring problem or encourage repeat usage in order to retain customer loyalty. Banking apps, games, weather forecast apps, instant messaging apps and social media apps are the types that are best for regular use. Mobile apps are also appropriate if you want to provide offline access to content or allow your users to perform functions that don’t require an internet connection.

Mobile-optimised web apps are better suited to communicating specific information to a large audience over a long period of time, or for sharing information about a specific event or promotion over a shorter period of time. It is also a useful option for a general company website that may not be able to justify the recurring usage of a mobile app but makes the most of the functions of the mobile platform. Web apps are also instantly accessible to users via web browsers across multiple mobile devices (e.g. iPhone, Android, Blackberry etc) and can be found easily by users through a simple web search.

Would you like to know how a mobile app or and mobile-optimised web app can help your business? Contact inoutput to learn more.