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Responsive Websites Vs Mobile Websites Vs Mobile Apps.

March 25th, 2013

Mobile Technology has changed our lives in the past few years. The incessant evolution of mobile phones, regular release of latest mobile OS versions, availability of different varieties of mobile apps and high-speed internet connections have entirely transformed our lives to completely depend on mobile devices for all our online activities.

Apart from mobile devices, people have now started using Smartphones, tablets and other hand-held devices for connecting to the internet, from anywhere and anytime they need. This revolution has made many companies to shift from Desktop to Mobile strategy for their online businesses.

Moreover, the shift from desktop to mobile devices also necessitates web designers and developers to refocus their web designing process, to create websites that support all handheld devices.

The web designers and developers follow various approaches to make a mobile web presence. They build a separate mobile website or mobile application for users to view websites on their mobile phones. The latest approach followed for this purpose is the Responsive Web Design.

To make a mobile presence, every business needs to decide on which route to go down – Mobile Website or Mobile Application? Mobile website or Responsive Website?  Mobile application or Responsive Website?

Mobile Website:

A mobile website is a website created significantly for small-screen devices. Similar to a regular website, mobile websites can also be accessed through various browsers. A mobile website generally consists of limited content and hence it is light-weighted and faster when compared to regular websites. If a browser is using a mobile phone to view a website, then the website automatically detects that the website has accessed on a mobile phone and then it redirects the browser to a separate URL to view the mobile specific website.

Why do you need a separate mobile website?

Even though the invention of Smartphones has changed the importance of mobile websites, certain cases still exist where mobile websites make sense. Limiting the view’s options to only what they require to perform on their mobile phone is achieved effectively through a separate mobile website.

Mobile Applications:

Mobile applications are the applications developed mainly for mobile device platforms such as iPhone, Android, Google, etc. Usually, mobile applications have been downloaded from app stores. There are a large number of mobile applications available for various platforms. As there are many mobile phones available with various operating systems, mobile applications are incredibly expensive to develop and maintain.

When do you need to develop a mobile application?

In recent days, the things what you are able to accomplish using a standalone mobile application can now be able to easily done with a website. But still the necessity of using mobile applications for businesses is there around. Mobile applications are great for storing a large amount of information such as video, audio and catalogues. Even though the applications have a huge amount of information, the users are not required to wait for loading information over a slow 3G Internet connection. This is how the mobile applications greatly enhance the user’s experience.

Responsive Web Design:

Responsive Web Design is a latest approach to web design that allows you to create responsive websites. A responsive website is a website that can adapt itself to various screen sizes regardless of the devices that you use it. Responsive websites are usually optimized for viewing on mobile phones, tablets and desktops.  Hence, the Responsive Web Design approach eliminates the need for developing a separate website for every mobile device platform. This approach is currently preferred by web designers and developers as it covers a large number of users’ devices.

Mobile websites vs. Mobile applications

Suppose, your website is related to marketing and it requires a wider customer reach, then a mobile website is apt for your business. A mobile website provides greater compatibility with different browsers and allows constant updating. However, if your website needs interaction with the users such as accessing personal data or sharing user information, then a mobile application works better for your business.

If you want your website that has been easily shared and accessed, then mobile application is the right option. People can easily find out your mobile website by using any of their browsers. In case, your company is involved in services like reporting and calculations or game creation and promotion, then using mobile application is the best solution.

Mobile applications have the ability to work without the internet connection. Conversely, mobile websites cannot work in such situation. Moreover, mobile applications require very high development cost when compared to mobile websites.

Mobile websites vs. Responsive Web Design

If you want to provide users a mobile experience that engrosses speedy decisions and also selling and buying, then you need to have a separate mobile website. However, if you want to constantly add something or update your website based on new trends, then having a single responsive web design is the best option.

As a responsive website is entirely composed of complicated codes and technicalities, it requires a huge development cost. However, a mobile website requires a very low development charges. When considering the optimization process and SEO, responsive website takes up the priority than the mobile websites.

Responsive Web Design vs. Mobile Applications

When thinking about the advantages of using responsive websites, the first thing that comes to our mind is the download activities that are not required for responsive websites whereas the mobile applications require you to download them from app stores. Also, a responsive website doesn’t require you to update any information again and again. You just need to update the information on your main website that makes your work done.

Responsive websites provide you the compatibility across various platforms. It enables the content updates in the websites driven by Content Management Systems. The main disadvantage of using a responsive website is that the responsive website cannot be used without an internet connection while the mobile applications support this situation. Comparing the development cost, both responsive websites and mobile applications entail a strong budget.

Conclusion:

The above three comparisons clearly showed that all the three approaches, to make mobile presence, have both pros and cons. Based on the nature of your business, you need to select the best approach that fits for your situation. Before selecting any one of the three approaches, it is better to research well about your business, audience and the technologies that you need for best results.

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