Both mobile app and mobile websites have their characteristic benefits. You will only have to decide whether you need a mobile website or a mobile application development depending on your preferences of course, when you have a limited budget.

A pure mobile website can be accessed through browsing. It has a static navigational interface and requires a connection. On the other hand, mobile phone applications can be accessed offline once they are installed. It uses gadget functionalities to make the user experience far more interactive than a mobile website. So I think if we compare these two based on what they offer to mobile users, mobile applications will win hands down. But wait, there is a particular twist on the Mobile development floor. And it is something that would make you think twice before selecting between the web and app.

Mobile App Vs Mobile Web

Mobile App Vs Mobile Web – Statistic

  • App usage figures from 2021 show that US users spend about 3 hours on apps and 24 minutes on browsers.
  • Approximately 50% of all web traffic worldwide comes from mobile devices. 
  • Mobile devices, excluding tablets, generated 58.99 percent of all website traffic in the second quarter of 2022.

How Are Mobile Apps Built?

“Apps” is a short term to refer to an application. The software can be installed on any electronic device, including your mobile, laptop, iPad, etc. The app’s functionality is narrowed down to perform specific functions like ordering food, booking a cab, social interaction, etc.

To create an installable application, we have to follow an app development strategy starting with the following:

  • Planning: Ideate your app and highlight the purpose behind your app. Find your target audience and their requirements. Next, prepare a product road map and include the cost, time, and personnel estimate.
  • Designing: Once you are clear with your plan, you can design your app. As the primary motive behind any app is to deliver a seamless and effortless user experience, UI and UX are two crucial functions in building an app.
  • Coding: You enter the most crucial part with your unique design. Developing the functions and features of the app for the front-end and back-end of your app using suitable coding languages and frameworks. (Specifically, JavaScript)
  • Testing: Identify bugs and ensure security to build credibility in the market. You need to run your app through User testing, Functional testing, security testing, etc. The quality analyst and software testing team test the functions and features of the application to ensure the product deployed is flawless.
  • Launch: Finally, you launch your ideal app that would be installed on a million devices from the right platforms, be it the google play store or the iOS app store.

After understanding the process involved in building an application, let’s know why entering the market with a mobile application is a great choice. 

Mobile App Development

Why Mobile Apps Are a Good Choice

A recent study by App Annie found that the average person spent 4.8 hours a day on their mobile phones last year. Overall, a whopping 3.8 trillion hours were spent using mobile apps during 2021.

This data helps us understand the widespread usage of mobile phones and the preference for mobile apps over web apps. Now, let us know why

  • Speed: Mobile apps are considerably faster and provide a quick user experience and excellent compatibility.
  • Functionality: Mobile phones come in with various built-in functions like a camera, GPS, voice assistants like Siri, and sim cards that allows texting and calling.
  • Design Advantage: Mobiles have advanced gesture-capturing features such as a tap, slide, drag, swipe, etc., enhancing user experience.
  • Offline Access: Once installed, mobile apps can work seamlessly without an internet connection.
  • Benefits of Mobile Apps for Business: Mobile phones features push notifications that enable brands to send reminders, promotions, and other notifications effortlessly.
  • Also, Businesses can leverage the app platforms to display and promote their app resulting in a wider reach.
  • Security: Mobile apps have more fabulous safety and security settings. The play stores approve the apps after thoroughly screening each aspect.

Businesses can leverage the app platforms to display and promote their app resulting in a wider reach.

Just like any coin with two side mobile phones also comes with cons. Here are a few you might be interested to know.

Disadvantages of Mobile Apps

  • Cost: Mobile is a bit expensive to develop compared to the cost of developing web apps. Also, you must pay for app platforms such as the iOS app store to list your app.
  • Maintenance & Upgrade: Mobile apps require annual maintenance and sequential updates to boost performance or add a new feature. This further pushes the expense of listing a mobile app.
  • Long and Complicated Approvals: As mentioned about security, it can get quite complicated to get approvals for native apps from mobile stores.
  • Skilled Developers: Mobile apps require a development process, which is usually lengthy and complicated; hence developers with expertise in native programming are required.

After looking at the two sides of our first key player, it’s time to introduce our second key player – Web apps.

How Are Web Apps Built?

Web apps are similar to mobile applications, with the difference being it is built with the help of web technologies and can be accessed by the user over the internet. Some popular web apps are Gmail, Yahoo, Microsoft 365, etc.

Though web apps and websites may sound similar, they are different. A website is a collection of web pages that the user can see and read but not manipulate or interact with. A web application allows the user to interact and store data to create a web application; we must go through the web development process.

The process involved is quite similar to the operation of mobile app development, which includes

  • Planning and sourcing idea
  • Define the functions
  • Design the user interface
  • Test for discrepancies,
  • Launch

But, unlike mobile apps, developers have access to various templates and designs, making web apps quicker and easier to make as there is no conventional software development kit for building web apps.

Web apps are usually built with common coding languages like JavaScript, HTML, and CSS; hence developers with less intense expertise can still make user-friendly web apps.

A positive trend is fast approaching the web world, PWA- Progressive Web Apps, which tries to take advantage of recent browser advancements and enables web apps to achieve the convenience of mobile apps which have still not reached the maturity period and are currently in a work in progress.

Why Web Apps Are a Good Choice

Remote work has increased the demand for ‘conversation-centric’ web developments and web designs by 71%. This shows the increasing trend in the usage of web applications and creates the need for me to explain.

  • Cost-effectiveness: Web apps have a lower cost of development when compared to mobile apps, as one version of a web app can work perfectly well on all operating systems, reducing the need to create specific builds.
  •  Search Engine Optimization: Web apps enable better discovery on search engines and get displayed on search result pages making it an ideal choice to spread the visibility of your app.
  • Adaptive: Web apps have a simple and adaptive approach; you don’t have to download or install a web application as it can be directly accessed through your web browser from any device. Unlike mobile apps, which need to be installed on respective devices to be put to use.
  • Compatibility: Usually, one version of a web application is sufficient to work seamlessly, making it highly compatible with multiple devices.
  • Updates: Instant updates are one exciting feature of web apps as they share a common code base, and the developer has to push the code through the browser, which gets reflected instantly on the user end.
  • Business Coverage: With better visibility through Search Engine Optimization, website visitors can be directed to your web app without any hassles, as there are no requirements for installation to begin interactions.
  • Quick Launch Access: As platforms do not regulate web apps, your web apps are not required to go through multiple screenings for approval, making the launch process much quicker and easier than mobile apps.
  • Less Expertise: As web apps can be developed with templates and common programming languages, the need to hire experienced developers isn’t very high.

Before jumping to a conclusion and declaring web apps to be the best, it’s essential to understand the cons. So, here’s the list:

Disadvantages of Mobile Apps

Though web apps come with many advantages in terms of cost and time, they have a few limitations that make us have second thoughts about web apps.

  • No Offline Access: The biggest drawback of web apps is their heavy reliance on an internet connection to surf through tarnishes the user experience quite a bit
  • Platform Limitations: Web apps solely depend on their web browsers. A slight discrepancy in the web browser directly affects your web app’s functionality, limiting the user experience if frequent issues arise.
  •  This makes a web browser and a strong internet connection a necessary condition.  
  • Slower Performance: Web apps are not significant in performance and speed compared to mobile apps; hence they could not be listed as an alternative to mobile apps.
  • Security Threat: Since there is no scope for any regulations or approval by the app store, quality and security are not guaranteed in web apps. With all the above-mentioned common drawbacks, web apps have certain other limitations concerning a particular platform which is also an important topic to discuss.

Significant Limitations on iOS

Web App is known for their security features, but this brings a lot of setbacks for building a smooth or enhanced user experience for web apps. iOS limits web apps from entering their full capabilities for security reasons like

  •  No Access to Push Notifications: Almost every business leverages push-up notifications for sending reminders, promotional coupons, vouchers, etc. Yet web apps have no access to push-up notifications, creating a colossal setback for web apps on iOS platforms.
  • No Integration with Siri: iOS’s outstanding feature includes its virtual voice assistant Siri which is very popular, but the web has no integration or access to Siri, making it even more unpreferable.  
  • Limited Phone Functions: web apps also fail to utilize other market demand functions of iOS, such as Touch ID, Face ID, Bluetooth connectivity, and Battery information, etc. are not supported in web apps.

These limitations make us think twice before going for web apps on iOS platforms, as they can hurt users’ experience. But this is still ongoing as there are a few more critical disadvantages for web apps in the Android platform, which is equally important to discuss.

Significant Limitations on Android

Though there are no significant limitations in Android platforms as compared to iOS still, web apps do not support some additional features, such as

  • Calendar Access: Web apps don’t have direct access to calendars to remind important events and cannot send calendar invites for scheduled meetings and events.
  • Restricted Calls and SMS Feature: Android doesn’t support calling and short message service for web apps

After going through all these pros and cons of web applications, you may be urged to ask, “Is there any alternative to balance out the pros and cons?” The developers also heard it; the recently emerging trend is Progressive Web Apps (PWA). It is paving the way to iron out all the differences experienced in conventional web and mobile apps. 

Also, Read – Best Web Development Agencies in USA

Progressive Web Apps: The Best of Both the Worlds

Progressive web applications (PWA) are just like regular web applications but with a ‘booster’ performance. It’s an attempt to balance out the pros and cons associated with web applications.

  • Web apps can load even without network connections
  • We can add PWA to our home screens which enables quick access 
  • It takes significantly less storage space
  • Has access to push notifications

This is deemed the latest trend in the industry, which expects a viral hit that will rule the previous expectations and help achieve enhanced user experience.

Tech PArtner

What’s next?

Mobile app development costs are quite expensive compared to mobile website development. Also, you would find many options for converting your website to a mobile site without investing much in it. While developing a desktop version of your website, you can develop it in a responsive manner, letting the same website become compatible with different devices like iPhones, iPad, Tablets, and others.

Also, a few sites charge you a minimum amount of money and convert your website to a mobile site. An excellent example of this is dudamobile.com. Whereas there is no such option available for mobile applications. You need to hire a mobile app developer to get it developed. Also, if your vast audience is, you need to target more platforms, which would certainly cost you much. Also, if it’s an application, it must pass the approval process on the mobile app stores, whereas it’s not mandatory for mobile websites.

Related Post: Manual vs. Automation Testing

So, the cost and convenience go in favor of the mobile website. So it’s a tie till round second! But, finally, what matters to you more is the audience’s response. Isn’t it? A recent survey was conducted on the usage and followership of various platforms, which made the applications more impactful and attractive for end-users than websites. Mobile applications are dominant and are more popular among mobile users.

So all in all, the mobile application wins the race. But, in the end, it all depends on your resources, product type, and audience. If you still manage to capitalize on a mobile website that reaches significantly to your audience, you are through.

Your specific goal related to your branding, marketing, and promotions is the major factor that would help you take an apt decision. But, the most advisable is to have them both when you have the resources.

 So, now you are acquainted with mobile and web apps and understand both key players’ differences, advantages, and disadvantages. Take some time to discuss with tech experts in your team and decide which is the best choice for your business by prioritizing your customer’s user experience, as no application fits all yet.

THE AUTHOR
Technical Writer
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Mike Brin is a tech-savvy writer and a passionate advocate for the transformative power of technology. With a background in Information Technology and a love for all things digital, Mike brings a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm to his tech blog.

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