Web app vs mobile app. Which is harder to develop?

What are the fundamental differences between the application and the responsive version of the site from a business point of view?

The following key features of each of the options can be distinguished:

  • The application can send push notifications to the user, which, if properly configured, have a good conversion. It is not only a sales and up-sales tool. But also messages about promotions and important company news as they become available. That is, the application can be effective in the background. The site requires the targeted activity of the client himself: open a browser, enter the site address and go to it or follow the link from mail / SMS. Modern web and mobile application development has its specific features.
  • The application is primarily aimed at a loyal audience that will agree not only to install, but also to regularly launch the application. The site is visited by a large and varied audience. These are loyal customers, potential customers. Those who compare the company with others, partners, and so on. With a competent approach, we can consider these tools as different marketing channels for working with different segments of the client base;
  • The peculiarities of using smartphones and programs for them suggest that the application should be relevant for users quite often. If it is launched once every six months, it will soon be simply removed. Even if you persuaded the client to install and launch your application at least once. The site is always available and does not take up memory on the client’s device;
  • Most applications allow you to implement at least part of the functionality offline. While the site requires a constant connection to the Internet.

Despite the intense growth dynamics of the mobile applications market, the main trend in the development of the mobile interface for both Apple and Google and Microsoft remains the further improvement of mobile search. It ultimately leads the user to the site, and not to the application.

The cost of developing a quality application today is comparable to the development of a website. But, unlike the site, in order to reach the maximum audience using a mobile application, it is necessary to develop for at least three popular operating systems. And sometimes separately for different types of devices. Comparing data on the number of users of regular and mobile Internet, statistics on the structure of users of Android, iOS and WinPhone and the average prices for the development of websites and mobile applications. Here can be added a simple proportion. Can be made the conclusion that the cost of a marketing communication channel through mobile devices is an order of magnitude higher. In other words, you can reach 10 times more people,using a website compared to mobile apps.

The share of mobile Internet users is still small. Despite the dynamic development of the mobile Internet, today only about 20% of people use a smartphone or tablet to access the Internet. This means that a business loses 80% of potential customers by betting on a mobile application. After all, the site, besides the mobile one, will necessarily have a full version. In benefits of android application development there is no such point.

Responsive website VS mobile application: what should a business choose?

Using ready-made templates, you can create both a website and an application for several hundred dollars. And you can try to adapt them for your own business. If we are talking about a professional, effective product for business, then the order of the numbers, of course, is different. But the cost of developing an application. In this case, will be comparable to developing a website or implementing an adaptive layout. The explanation is very simple: from a development point of view, these are practically similar products. For the functioning of both tools, you need: a database for storing content, a system for managing it, interface design of the public part, its programming and testing. Very often, when developing an application, it is possible to save on the database and administration system, since you can use the ready-made architecture of the existing site. But once again you should know, that an application for only one mobile operating system will not be able to cover the entire client base. As a result, the development of multiple applications in most cases will cost even more than a website. But the most important thing to remember is that the investment does not end there. And launching the application is only the first step. In order for the application to be installed, it must be promoted. Mobile technologies have their own promotion features, but the principles are very similar to website promotion. And on an annualized basis, investments in traffic often exceed the development cost. And here we return to the very first question: will the application be effective and cost-effective for a particular business?

What development technologies are in demand today?

One of the common, fairly versatile and budgetary options is the use of HTML5 frameworks, such as Cordova. This technology has its pros and cons. The main advantage is cross-platform and a single code for all platforms (one application for Android, iOS, WinPhone). I.e. development and maintenance of such an application will be much cheaper. However, in this case, the applications cannot be called fully native for each of the platform. Since there is no possibility of full integration with the hardware and software of a mobile phone or tablet. Basically it is a web page that is opened using a browser. Therefore, you should not expect the same interface speed as a native application. In addition, universality can cause natural interface problems, since an application on all platforms will have the same user interface / design. For example, iPhone users are accustomed to one application behavior, and Android phone owners to another. This discrepancy can cause an unpleasant impression from the application). HTML5 development has the lowest entry bar in terms of programming. That is why there are so many poor quality HTML5 apps on the market (bugs, poor performance).

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