As a business, you’re likely going to need to decide between a dedicated mobile app or a responsive web design that works well on mobile and across all devices. This decision will likely be tough. But both options are viable and have their own benefits.
This article discusses both options in more detail, helping you decide which is best for you and your business.
So, let’s get to it, beginning with a description of each.
What is a dedicated mobile app?
A dedicated mobile app is specifically designed for operating systems such as IOS and Android. These cannot be accessed via an internet browser, and instead, are downloaded from the respective Google Play and App Store.
A dedicated mobile app has several benefits, including an improved user experience, increased professionality, and often a faster and more interactive viewing experience.
Other benefits of a mobile app include:
- Ability to develop trust with your audience
- Increased accessibility
- Seamless experience
- A faster viewing experience
We will now discuss each of these benefits in greater detail below:
Ability to develop trust with your audience
A dedicated mobile app allows you to develop trust with your audience like never before. With fewer distractions and an immersive experience, you can offer loyalty programs, exclusive access to products or pages, and generally, can provide a user-centred design and experience that is not possible via a responsive web design.
Second, a dedicated mobile app increases accessibility, both for the user/customer and the business themselves. For instance, the app can be accessed either offline or online and provides greater access for the business to interact with their customers (exclusive deals, tailored messages, a dedicated support system, etc).
Third, expect an unrivalled and seamless experience. Keeping your user in one place increases engagement, allowing your consumer to read and engage with your content much easier and quicker. This seamless experience further builds trust, especially if you implement personalised content (e.g. user’s interests, behaviour, location, or culture).
A faster viewing experience
Finally, there’s no denying that a dedicated mobile app provides a faster viewing experience as opposed to a responsive web design. In fact, some apps can even be accessed without access to the internet, streamlining and improving the user experience.
The quicker your loading times and smoother your app, the more likely they are to return and recommend this to others.
What is a responsive web design?
A responsive web design does not include a dedicated mobile app. Instead, the website is created and optimised to be as mobile-friendly as possible. This is generally the more cost-effective option, as you’re saving money by not needing to develop an app, but are still able to provide your audience with a supported platform.
Choosing this option means all users, whether using a smartphone, laptop, tablet, or desktop computer, can view your site in the most user-friendly way. The display and orientation of the website changes dependant on the device, optimising for the smoothest experience. Depending on the viewing device, image sizes and text will change and pop-ups may be limited.
The main benefit of choosing a responsive web design is how any user or customer can access your website regardless of which device they are on. All they need is an internet connection, and they can view your products, services, or get in touch to request more information.
Nonetheless, further benefits of a responsive design include:
- Optimised for each device
- Easier to maintain
- Ability to attract a wider audience
We explore each of these below.
Unlike developing a dedicated mobile app, optimising your existing website for mobile and other devices is much more cost-effective. If your business is relatively new or you’re working towards a budget, this is the best option – allowing you to save money and invest this in more important areas of your business.
Optimised for each device
Second, responsive web design is optimised for each device. This means that regardless of whatever device you visit your website on, the site will adjust accordingly. As so, this reduces the need for updates and other app maintenance, which can often be costly and time-consuming.
Easier to maintain
Third, a responsive web design is much easier to maintain than a standalone or native app. Changes to your website can be made across all devices, adapting automatically to best fit each device.
On the other hand, if using a native or dedicated app, you would be required to adjust these manually, taking up valuable time. If you don’t know how to do this yourself, it can cost you.
Ability to attract a wider audience
Finally, a responsive web design allows you to attract a wider audience. You can focus your efforts more on SEO while knowing that users will experience an optimal viewing experience.
Knowing all users are supported when viewing your site is an invaluable asset. It reduces errors and bounce rates with users becoming more immersed in your content.
The bottom line
In this article, we’ve highlighted both the pros and cons of a dedicated mobile app and a responsive web design. Both are excellent options for your business; however, the choice you make is entirely dependant on your preference and requirements.
If you’re currently on a budget or just starting out, a responsive web design is likely the best option. If you wish to connect with your audience on a new level, then consider a dedicated mobile app.