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Mobile website or an app? The choices explained

In professional services circles, everyone is talking about the growing use of mobile devices and the need to be in front of increasingly mobile clients. 

Whether your business is providing law or accountancy services, or managing an association of independent firms, with traffic from smaller screen, mobile devices at least doubling for most firms in 2012, you really should be thinking about how best to ensure visitors to your website don't immediately leave the site as they are unable to view it on a mobile device. Lost traffic could be lost business. 

However, many professional firms and associations are still sitting on the fence when it comes to mobile strategy, the main reason being that they are unsure of the best strategy: a mobile app, mobile website or maybe both? 

We have set out below the advantages and disadvantages of an app and a mobile website to help you make the right decision. 

1) App

Advantages

  • Content can be cached allowing use offline (when not connected to a WIFI/3G connection)
  • Faster user experience
  • More interactive experience
  • Effective extension of your brand 
  • Makes use of the smartphone's features (camera, location services, etc). 

Disadvantages

  • Need to get approval from the various app stores - your app could even get rejected! 
  • Development costs tend to be higher
  • To reach users of all smartphones, you may need to develop separate apps

2) Mobile website

Advantages

  • App store approval is not necessary
  • Can be viewed from any smartphone with a browser
  • Though it does depend on what you want to achieve and who develops your mobile site, development costs may be lower. 

Disadvantages

  • Reliancy on a web or 3G connection to view content
  • Speed relies on your web connection and what you are viewing
  • Features will be more limited
  • User experience will not be as slick.  

So those are the main points to consider - there is of course a strong case to be made for combining both approaches, if you have the budget! You need to be very clear about what functionality your users must have - that will help you to make the choice.

If you need advice, just talk to Appergy, developers of apps for professional services organizations or view information on our app solutions for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry. We can of course also help with mobile websites and responsive web design!  

Connect with Giles Brake on Google+

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