What is the Difference between a Mobile App and a Mobile Website?

Jan 2, 2014 | Web Design

There are several different routes you can take when implementing a mobile solution. We have decided to answer one common question to help you make your decision: What is the difference between a mobile app and a mobile website?

Mobile Responsive Web Design

As the New Year begins, it is more important than ever to have a website that is optimized for mobile use .

According to Forbes.com, mobile Internet use is at an all-time high, with 63% of all cell phone owners admitting they use those devices to go online. The number of consumers who say they primarily use cell phones for Internet access is up to 21%. While desktops will likely remain the primary method of Internet use for most users in 2014, there’s no denying mobile is a big player.

There are several different routes you can take when implementing a mobile solution. We have decided to answer one common question to help you make your decision: What is the difference between a mobile app and a mobile website?

A mobile website is like other websites, but is designed for optimal viewing on a smaller, touch-screen device. Like regular websites, mobile websites consist of browser-based HTML pages. Often times, your mobile website will be just like your actual website, only viewable on a smaller device and with a different domain.

Advantages:

  • You can create one mobile site that will work on any mobile device
  • Developing a mobile site is often the fastest and cheapest option
  • Customers are able to find your mobile site by searching for you in search engines from their mobile devices
  • It can be easily updated through a content management system (CMS)

A mobile app is an actual application that is downloaded on your device from an app store. A mobile app may be best for developing interactive games whereas a mobile website is best when displaying your website content.

Advantages:

  • Mobile apps use native code, so the application can run with high performance
  • You can get the app in an App Store
  • The mobile app can work offline
  • The App can be launched in a single step

So where does responsive design fit in with all of this? Responsive design allows your actual website to respond to whatever device it is being displayed on. It is different from a mobile website in that it is still your main website (same domain), whereas a mobile site requires a different domain.

Thus, depending on the goals of your mobile usage and your budget, you have a variety of options to choose from. Informatics creates custom mobile applications, mobile websites, and responsive designed websites. Contact us for help with optimizing your website for mobile in 2014.

 (Resources: New Media Campaigns)