What Are the Benefits of Choosing Apps Over Using Mobile Sites?

Mobile users have surpassed the desktop users, and the trend is not slowing down. While the number of users is cumulatively rising, developer’s resources are not endless, and choosing a field to specialize in becomes a burning issue. While the number of mobile users is growing, the other group is still not something to be ignored. When choosing between making apps or creating mobile sites, the ups and downs of each platform can tilt the scales.  

1. More Active Users

As mentioned above, there are several factors that need to be considered. One among them is active time usage. People spend more time on their phones because they are available all the time. You can whip out your phone any time, at any place, thereby giving apps the competitive edge of being always present. 

When developers can factor user time into their development, they have more room to implement various design options because they know the user’s attention is on their side. The average US mobile user is online via mobile for about 4 hours. 88% of that time is spent on mobile apps, giving them a huge margin over other options.

2. Mobile Hardware

Depending on the type of service any company wishes to offer, Mobile Hardware can play a vital role in determining whether to focus on apps or mobile sites. Camera, GPS,  accelerometer, and all the data available on someone’s phone can enhance apps to provide an interactive experience. Mobile hardware has also grown to provide immersive graphics and a seamless experience when playing mobile casino games, offering a personalized and interactive experience.

And, yes, mobile sites can also use all of these features, but there is a caveat. When sites try to access your mobile hardware, privacy concerns, and technological limitations in such scenarios limit the option for mobile sites. Highly interactive games thrive in-app environments, like Fruit Ninja, Candy Crush, and similar. Strategic, puzzle and slower games are thus better suited for mobile sites.

3. Offline Functionality

One benefit apps have over mobile sites at any time is their ability to work offline. At times, Wi-Fi is not available. Your internet connection might be limited or slow. There could be even data plan restrictions or something else entirely that could limit your online access.  Mobile sites then slow down, degrade their performance, or limit accessibility, but apps installed on your phone can work offline. 

Some users argue that mobile sites can still use the cache to offer some degree of access, but apps can offer more. And once you’ve cleared your search history, these functions are gone. Banking apps can still do your taxes, calculate loans, percentages, and savings, and do other functions with the data available on your phone.

4. Easy Notifications

Email notifications, in-apps, and push notifications are the three main ways of keeping your users informed while talking about apps or sites. Email notifications can get lost, detected as spam, clog your inbox, or get ignored due to the overwhelming nature of email communication and the stress it puts on your inboxes. Sites that rely on email notifications are in a worse position compared to apps. In-app notifications happen only when you open the app and are using it, offering a focused and direct way of informing your users. 

Push notifications are somewhere in the middle between email notifications and in-app info. Push notifications happen directly on your mobile screen, regardless of whether you have opened the app. The click-through rate of push notifications is almost double compared to email, where the first is around 8%, but for email, it’s 2-5%. 

5. Brand Presence

To access sites, the user must open a browser,  type the address, search for it online, or access previous history or bookmarks. Mobile sites compete against countless others online, but having an installed app on your phone offers continuous brand presence. The app’s icon is a constant reminder of the brand, and it only compares against other apps on the phone. Just that icon alone is a form of social media campaign and brand presence, influencing the user subconsciously and occupying space on their phone and in their mind.

6. Higher Degree of Personalization

Mobile sites cater to a large crowd and must be uniform in design. Appealing to each user and catering to individual needs is possible in rare cases, but it is costly. Mobile phones and apps are highly customizable, where users can customize their home screen, apps, and everything in between. Apps can be customized to any user’s preference, where only the app design can limit personalization.

Apps can track user’s decisions and traffic to offer custom content and adapt to user engagement. Because an app is installed on one user’s phone, it only has to track, adjust, and present data to one user at a time, making apps highly versatile and user-friendly. The only downside to app personalization can be the lack of personalization features implemented from the developer’s side.

7. Faster Communication

On mobile sites, your phone first communicates with the server, which communicates with the site, and then the information has to travel backward through the same route. That is if there are no middle servers involved. Apps offer direct communication, and users can always improve their mobile apps because they are installed on their phones, and data is being accessed locally.

When you combine this with the previously mentioned ability to work offline, apps have faster response time, accessibility, and speed on their side. Apps can also read your gestures and react to hand motions like pinching the screen or swiping left and right. Sites offer a back or a forward button, but we can swipe left for backward and right for forwards more intuitively on an app.

Wrapping Up

In an ideal case, a company can provide both a mobile site and an app for its users. With enough development time and resources, both versions can work together and complement each other to bring the best user experience. But when forced to choose, it is always better to evaluate what type of product you offer as a company and what kind of user you are. Mobile apps are a better option if you don’t need constant access, instantaneous reactions, and online presence. Apps offer greater personalization, a more interactive environment, and a constant stream of information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q 1.  Can apps and mobile sites work offline?

Ans: Mobile sites have a very limited scope of functions when offline, while apps can work offline and perform more functions.

Q 2. Why choose apps over mobile sites?

Ans: Apps are ideal for games, interactive communications, and offline work, offer more branding opportunities, and can use mobile hardware to their advantage.

Q 3: Why choose mobile sites over apps?

Ans: An improvement made on a mobile site is available to all users without an update, which app users must regularly do. A mobile site can become an app. Eventually, it is easily shareable and can not be deleted easily by the user.

Q 4: Can mobile sites become apps?

Ans: Yes, if the company decides to make an app version of its site and connect the two. Rarely does it happen the other way around, where a company designs a site based on its app.

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