Mobile Sites, Apps & Devices. Oh My!

Posted: May 14, 2013 by Courtney Iovanovich

According to Microsoft Tag, mobile internet usage will surpass desktop internet usage by next year.  Facebook recently stated it will have a streamlined look across all devices. Google created an ROI tool to measure mobile results. There is no denying the importance of having a mobile presence.

If your business is planning on establishing a mobile presence, you may wonder if you should create an app or a WAP-enabled website (mobile-friendly site). Some companies only use a mobile-friendly site, while others only have an app and some have both. Check out the benefits and drawbacks to mobile-friendly sites vs. apps, which may help you determine which is most appropriate for your business.


Mobile-Friendly Site

Benefits Drawbacks
  ✓ Single site can be viewed on multiple platforms and devices   ✘ Cannot access native functionality of the mobile device (i.e. camera)
  ✓ Generally faster and cheaper to develop and maintain   ✘ Not as easily accessible; user must bookmark, remember URL, etc.
  ✓ Content can be easily updated through content management systems (yes, including ours!)   ✘ Must have network/wireless connection
  ✓ Can be found via search engines  


Benefits Drawbacks
  ✓ Ability to introduce new functionality not available through the website or make a particular function more prominent   ✘ App stores change fees for publishing, certifying and updating
  ✓ No network/wireless connection needed (for most app functions)   ✘ Must have network/wireless connection to download
  ✓ Ability to access native functionality of the device (i.e. camera)   ✘ Expensive to develop and maintain
  ✓ Easily accessible from mobile device/tablet   ✘ Users must manually approve updates


If you’re still undecided if a mobile-friendly website or app is best for your company, you may be happy you’re still reading. Businesses seem to be solving the mobile dilemma by choosing a responsive web design site. While responsive web design (RWD) has some of the same cons as the mobile-friendly website, it reaps far more benefits. With RWD, your site will automatically format to the user’s device, creating a better user experience.

Making a seamless transition into the mobile market is a must, but will your company use a mobile-friendly site, app, responsive web design or a combination?

Image via Pace Communications

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