era404 Creative Group, Inc.



era404 Products: Content Management

Mobile Websites vs. Applications


There's no denying that mobile phones have grown to become an increasing part of our lives. In fact, there's a 42% likelihood that you're reading this newsletter on your phone or tablet device, up 10% from last March. And in most cases, mobile applications would probably be overkill for your business or brand, where a beautifully designed, responsive newsletter (such as this one) will more than suffice. However, if you're looking for something more than emails, here are some things for you to consider.

There's a big difference between a mobile website and a mobile application. Before you can evaluate the benefits of either, it's important to understand the key differences between the two. Both apps and mobile websites are accessed on a handheld devices such as smartphones (e.g. iPhone, Android and Blackberry) and tablets.

Mobile Websites are similar to any other website in that it consists of browser-based HTML pages that are linked together and accessed over the Internet (for mobile typically WiFi or 3G or 4G/4G LTE networks). The obvious characteristic that distinguishes a mobile website from a standard website is the fact that it is designed for the smaller handheld display and touch-screen interface. Like any website, mobile websites can display text content, data, images and video. They can also access mobile-specific features such as click-to-call (to dial a phone number) or location-based mapping.

The less obvious characteristic is the user's intentions. A desktop user may be seeking in-depth information about your business or brand, researching case studies and poring through support or auxiliary documents in order to discern if they're interested in starting or continuing a relationship with you. A tablet user may be seeking media (product videos, technical manuals, press releases, etc.) for information about your offering, and a mobile user may simply need quick, time-sensitive material (such as contact information or a client list). That is to say, in addition to choosing how it's displayed, user intent should also affect if it's displayed or what, if anything, should be displayed instead.

Mobile Apps, on the other hand, are actual applications that are downloaded and installed on your mobile device, rather than being rendered within a browser. Users visit device-specific portals such asĀ  Apple's App Store, Google Play, or Blackberry App World in order to find and download apps for a given operating system. The app may pull content and data from the Internet, in a similar fashion as a website, or it may download the content so that it can be accessed without an Internet connection.   Diss 'n' Gauges

Diss 'n' Gauges

ERA404's new application for Android and iPhone.

The most appropriate choice between a mobile website and application really depends on your end goals. If you are developing an interactive game, an app is probably going to be your best option. But if your goal is to offer mobile-friendly content to the widest possible audience, then a mobile website is probably the way to go. In some cases you may decide you need both a mobile website and a mobile app, but it's pretty safe to say that it rarely makes sense to build an app without already having a mobile website in place. Tech start-ups, nowadays, have even started releasing mobile applications prior to establishing online presences. In rare occasions, the opposite might be true. Take Instagram, for instance, who've accrued more than 90 million users worldwide since launching their mobile application in October 2010, but only released their web profiles four months ago.

Generally speaking, a mobile website should be considered your first step in developing a mobile web presence, whereas an app is useful for a very specific purpose that cannot be effectively accomplished via a web browser. Though there are a number of other things we'll need to consider before making a decision: Does your content need to be immediately and instantly available? Does it need to be compatible with all types of devices (phone/tablet, iOS/Android/Blackberry) or is your audience primarily using one type? Will upgrades need to occur regularly and quickly? Are searchability, shareability and reach factors in your success? Do you intend to maintain it over a long period of time or do your needs have a very short lifecycle (e.g., promoting an upcoming event)? Does your budget and/or timeline prohibit either from being an option?

Questions like these are integral in deciding if a mobile website or application might be right for you. And while you may not have answers to these questions, or even understand how they could benefit or impact your business, ERA404 can help you make the best decisions for moving forward.

Contact ERA404 about Mobile Website and Application Development


ERA404  •  PO Box 470404  •  Brooklyn, NY 11247-0404  •  201·683·9296  •  •  Online Version