There has been a lot of discussion in the development community of recent on whether it is better to recommend mobile applications (app) or responsive websites to prospective clients.
With the recent ability of a website to adapt itself to whatever device it is rendered on and with app consumers becoming more selective about the mobile apps they will lend the storage space on their mobile devices to, it is safe to ask: is it more effective to recommend a responsive website to a client or is it better to recommend a mobile app?
For starters, let us illustrate the differences between a responsive website and a mobile app.
What Is A Responsive Website?
A responsive website is a website that adjusts its dimensions and characteristics to fit whatever device the content is consumed is on. With people like Luke Wroblewski evangelizing a “mobile first” philosophy to designing websites and google’s search engine penalizing websites that are non-mobile compliant, responsive websites are becoming more and more ubiquitous. The ability of a responsive website to change its dimensions and characteristics is governed by the use of flexible grid layouts and media queries which are coded into the website’s cascading style sheets (CSS). In other words, no matter the screen size the content is being viewed on, if the website is responsive to the device it’s being consumed on, you should have no problems enjoying a proper user experience with the website.
What Is A Mobile Application?
A mobile app is an application written for consumption exclusively on a mobile device or a tablet.
Mobile apps like responsive websites adjust their dimensions to be able to fit on both a mobile phone and a tablet but there is a lot more room for interaction between the device’s hardware and the code that makes up the mobile app.
There are certain components of mobile hardware that a software application can be written to interact with. An Apple iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy, for instance, has a gyro meter, a camera, an accelerometer, and a home button all of which can be given tasks to carry out when a client interacts with them. That is why you can play a game on your iPhone or shake your phone and the app you are running on the device gives the client feedback with respect to the client’s initial interaction with the device.
So It Better To Recommend A Mobile Device Or A Responsive Website.
Our recommendation to this dilemma depends entirely on the client’s needs. If the client wants a solution that requires a nimble design, strong and consistent use by end-users, interaction with the hardware components of end user’s device, for instance in gaming apps, then we would recommend a mobile app.
If, however, the client requires a solution that can be viewed on a mobile device as well as a desktop, but does not need to interact with hardware components of the device it’s being viewed on, then a responsive website is definitely the way to go.
Mobile apps require more end-user loyalty because of the need to sacrifice device storage when downloading them.
If an end user can find the content you are presenting on a responsive website, then you might find yourself in the crosshairs of Apple’s recent policy to delete thousands of unused apps in their app store.
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