Web vs. Mobile: Advantages of Both

9 August 2021

Maksim Atiutskii

Business Development Manager

I continue to share my experience of mobile apps development. This time I’d like to talk about the advantages of both mobile applications and websites. 

This discussion does still make sense because native development is costly, and in some cases, the web can also be attractive, it can reduce time to market, and save a lot of resources. Let’s go through the most obvious advantages of both options.

Web pros

  • The speediness of the development

The web development market offers way more tech stacks and half-ready solutions to build an MVP, one developer can handle the whole frontend side of your product.

  • Upgradability

Web development offers many possibilities to find product-market fit easily. You don’t need to release a new version and wait while customers will update for minor changes. Also, you can test different functionalities and design concepts and get instant feedback from analyzing tools. You can see how your changes affect your reach and users' behavior instantly.   

  • Greater reach

Obviously, you won’t require your customers to install your app. It gives some benefits in the promotion. Targeting is more effective for websites because your potential customers have fewer actions to start using. And, obviously, SEO promotion is working with web-only, AppStore & GooglePlay don’t have search by the content engine. 

  • Compatibility

Websites provide the same user experience for all operations systems and devices. It reduces expenses for UI/UX development and further implementation. App stores will not refuse to publish it, your hands are not tied by different guidelines. 

  • Complex interfaces

To get this point clear just try to use the mobile and web version of google sheets or miro. Mobile apps should be simple & focused on the content at first. If you’re going to develop complex tools, the desktop version could be better for the first iteration. 

Mobile Applications Pros

  • Offline

The app doesn’t require a stable internet connection to process some functionalities. Source code is located on a mobile device, interfaces load fast wherever you are. For sure, there are no possibilities to use APIs offline but it could save data offline or store it on the device only. Especially it works with tools such as a calculator, notes, reminders, or some financial tools.

  • Hardware

If your product is going to use Bluetooth, camera, background tasks, storage, accelerometer, etc, the mobile app fits your requirements way better. The web is proceeding in the browser and has the same functionalities & performance restrictions as the web has. 

Besides, location supplied by the internet provider only (by IP address), there’s no proper GPS access. Some browsers have access to hardware, but only screen mode, so the functionality is worse. If you’re going to develop some taxi/fitness app - mobile is your only choice. 

  • Instant communication

Push notifications allow customers to always be aware of updates, messages, offers. Mobile in this matter is a very new level of reaching loyalty. Especially, it helps to build a more profitable sales funnel, reduce the cost of attracting a client, and increase income from every single customer. Your customers will buy more often and more payment models exist such as subscriptions.

  • Speediness/Performance 

Native apps work better and are less difficult to optimize. You can build more attractive and quality UX/UI, it’s usually difficult to use websites' mobile versions because of their very poor nativity. Apps use swipes, navigation controllers, and provide the best customer experience. Also, native code processes faster than JavaScript which is used for the web. So, if you are going to create a complex product for regular use, web development will not give your users the same wonderful experience.

  • Maps

Do you know any mobile website which has a comfortable map interface? - So, I don’t. Because of several layers (browser, web interface, the map), it’s almost impossible and very annoying to use maps there. In turn, the app has a fixed frame, and gestures are processed correctly. There are a lot of map SDKs for Java, Kotlin, and Swift, but the web usually processes embedded frames.

  • Always at hands

This is one of the common points you should rely on. If you’re going to provide something that implies constant and regular use, the application will help you to retain customers. But you should be aware that users rarely install random apps and your product should be very interesting for users, otherwise, if they don't see the problem you want to solve, you will lose this game. 

  • Brand & status 

Many applications are made for a brand status, customers are more loyal to companies who can effort apps in addition to the web version. All right, but in a startup's market you should think over twice, your budget is limited.

As you can see, mobile users spend around 90% of their time on mobile applications. Should be noticed that the majority of time people spend on social networks, messengers, and games. This chart is incredibly useful, so if you see a separate sector for your domain probably the application would be more attractive for users. 

  • No browsers

To be honest, when you’re developing a mobile application it should work on lots of different devices with different screens, shapes, and hardware, but it is not such a big headache compared with web development. In the web version, you preferably must support not only mobile phones, but also tablets, small and large laptops, desktops, and even Internet Explorer! 

Summary

This material was written to make readers think over twice, maybe the web is a good solution to start with. Basically, you should make a decision according to the assumed flow of use. The web has many benefits as well such as greater reach and unnecessary installation, ease of promotion, and ideas testing. To sum up, I’d make a decision according to the predicted frequency of usage, web for more rare tasks, apps for more frequent. In ROCKETECH we work with Product Owners and continuously help them to make data-driven decisions, we use resources efficiently together.

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