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Mobile application or mobile website?

Clients sometimes ask me why they should have a mobile application for their service or to promote their business, since they already have a mobile or responsive website, or why they should create an application when they can create a mobile web. There are several reasons, but I will mention the most important one right at the beginning.

Mobile apps and mobile web are two completely different things, and their purpose is entirely different.

Mobile web is undoubtedly a useful thing and as a user I always appreciate it when I'm in the "field" and seeking contact information to a certain company on the phone. If the company has a website optimized for mobile devices, it eliminates frantic zooming and a search for hidden contact information.

The number of users who access the web from mobile devices is increasing and today it is certainly not good to neglect such visitors. But to not start with controversy, I will mention one thing that brings mobile apps and mobile sites together. This thing is selective content, which is content selected (or better yet adapted) for a specific need. If I come to the site from a mobile device, I will expect the above-mentioned contact somewhere in my sight because it is the thing which people come to the site for from a mobile phone very often. I also expect the same principle from a mobile application.

An application offers something extra, not only technically

The technical advantages of mobile apps versus mobile web are obvious, such as local or push notifications to keep users in touch with the application and indirectly with your business as well. Their advantage lies in how users are using the application. A user runs the mobile application even several times a day for a few seconds or minutes while, for example, waiting for a bus, during which time they do  the most important thing" they could do from a mobile phone. Such a user does not need all the features that you have on your site, as they are better done from a computer. Therefore, a mobile application should not be the clone of the parent site in a mobile coat. It should provide a limited feature set, or an interface redesigned for the most common actions so as to best suit the usage of the mobile application.

Applications are often used, but in short sections

Perhaps the best example of such an application directly from our workshop is Fakturoid. The whole service is very extensive and offers a wide range of functions. However, we chose only those most frequently used ones for the application, and what is more, we optimized all functions for the mobile phone so that they can be executed as quickly as possible. And what if sometimes I need some advanced functions or settings? No problem, that's what a website is made for after all!

Přehled faktur v aplikaci Fakturoid

Applications can also promote your business indirectly

Some companies tell us that mobile applications are not suitable for their business. This may be true, but it is good to realize that mobile applications do not have to directly serve as "support" for your existing service. A good example may be a store with construction material. No sane person can expect that someone from the industry has bought building material through a mobile application. However, anything can change when a company wants to retain existing customers or attract new ones, and comes to the market with a "material calculator" that can quickly calculate the approximate cost and the amount of material for specific construction work. Such a well done application can also start to be used by people who are not yet your customers, but if after a recount they find that you happen to have the color they need at a discount and your branch is only a 5-minute drive away, they easily become your customers.

Conclusion: Do not be afraid to break up features!

In conclusion, I would like to summarize some of the facts. A mobile web is not the same as a mobile application, and they certainly should not replace one another. The content in a mobile application should be such that the user wants to use from a mobile phone, and the application should be serving it in the most comfortable way. The fragmentation of features does not hurt, it is always better when someone uses your services on more than one platform. If they are satisfied with the application's use, they will come back to it.

It is highly possible that you need an application even if you think you do not need one or that it is useless, you just don't know which one. At such a moment it is best to contact professionals who have experience and are able to help you with your intention.

Dominik Veselý
Dominik Veselý
Co-Founder & CTODominik is the Ackee information router. He is an early adopter of technologies and gadgets of any kind. He runs, rides a bike, and drives a cabriolet.

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