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The Difference Between a Mobile App and a Web Application

Both mobile apps and web applications can do wonders in simplifying how your customers interact with your business and ultimately aid in increasing your sales but choosing the right one for you is not always a simple task. The web app vs mobile app decision depends on which platform your business generates the most user traffic and which features will most benefit your users both for better audience engagement and ultimate ease of selling.

Web app vs mobile app

When looking at the difference between a web application and mobile application you first need to understand the fundamental characteristics of each application. Mobile apps are built for a specific platform which is usually either Apple iOS or Android and are downloadable through an app store to run on your customer’s phone. A mobile app is designed specifically to operate on a mobile device with access to operate in conjunction with inbuilt phone features such as GPS or camera functionality.

Web applications are designed using the same business branding colours, logos, and fonts which are adapted for use on a PC or laptop. Web apps will require an internet connection to run, whereas some mobile apps may be configured to operate if a device is offline. Web apps update themselves on a regular basis without the user needing to install anything on their PC and they adapt to whatever device you are viewing them on.

The cost of development

Looking at the difference between a web application and a mobile application, one of the main considerations needs to be in the cost of development. The cost of developing a mobile app can be significantly higher, though mobile apps can have much greater native device functionality with access to operating system resources. Web apps are clearly the cheaper option for development; however, the decision needs to remain based upon your target audience and whether their device usage falls in line with regular use of a web app vs mobile app.

Your target audience

When looking at the difference between a web app and a mobile app for your business, you need to consider your target market and their online habits. Overall, the average usage time on a mobile app far outweighs the average desktop time, but your market may adopt different usage habits in relation to your product or service if it is work related or for an older audience. The cost of a web app is much less prohibitive than that of a mobile app, but a mobile app has a more flexible interface allowing you to incorporate more complex functionalities.

The middle ground

In the decision of web app vs mobile app, there is a happy medium that you can opt for. If you are looking for an application that is rooted firmly in between the technicalities of a mobile app, with the freedom of a web application, you may consider a progressive web app as an alternative.

Progressive web applications are less reliant on the network that the user is connected to and are known for loading much more quickly, making them the ideal option if your business has a user category that is typically exposed to lower bandwidths due to their geographical location. With a script that runs in the background, independent of the webpage, developers have more control of the user experience with a progressive web app than with any other type of application.

A choice for growth

The difference between a web app and a mobile app may be the key factor that makes one or the other the right choice for your business. Creating an app for your business is one of the fastest ways to achieve accelerated growth and the ideal solution is unique to every business.

If you’d like to explore the app options for your business in more depth, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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Mitch Ellems

Sales & Strategy Director

Tags: App Development, Apps, Mobile Apps, Web Apps, Web Application, Native App, Android App, Apple App, Mobile App

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