App vs Website – What to choose?
Choosing your MVP – website or app – doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are 10 questions. Answer to decide quickly.
#1 Want more users?
A website can reach more users than a mobile app. To demonstrate this, let’s look at the Google search traffic for a US-based web and mobile analytics firm. Surprisingly, only 21% of their website traffic is mobile, with the rest coming from desktops and tablets.
Taking a closer look, Android users represent 8% (40%) of all visitors, while iOS users represent 13% (57%) of all visitors.
So, if we only use the iOS app, we would get about 12% of our current visitors. If we only use the Android app, we would get (roughly) 8% of our current visitors. In Google Analytics, click on Android to see the roughly 70 different devices that run this OS.
#2 Does your app get 5+ daily visits?
If you expect your user to use your app several times per day, start with an app. It is more convenient, faster to access, and keeps users informed. But there is one common deterrent to using your app – it is slow to launch, log in, and perform actions.
The majority of these features are recommended as mobile apps. You’ll interact with them frequently throughout the day and want to avoid lag. Not that you want to waste time scribbling down brilliant ideas, but that you need to do so quickly. You don’t want to wait 1 minute to play games on your 5-minute bus ride.
Imagine having to first access Facebook via your mobile browser, sign in, and then finally read your friend’s unimpressive message. It would be nice to get notified as soon as you get a message.
#3 Do you need native phone features?
Cameras, gyroscopes, and sensors work better with native apps. To avoid these issues, consider building a native app rather than web app. Many smartphone features can now be accessed via a web app, e.g.
Using NodeJS, you can even get data in real-time (as it is for native mobile apps). But you can’t get geo-targeted push notifications or in-app notifications while using a web app on an iPhone (but there’s a workaround for Android users). Even if your web app can access some smartphone features, it will always be different than a native mobile app. Native apps outperform web apps in terms of processing efficiency.
So, App vs Website, which is better? We can say they’re both good.
#4 Do you mind app speed?
Mobile apps outperform web apps. This is because mobile apps save user data locally on the phone. Web apps, on the other hand, use server data. In terms of performance, native mobile apps provide the best user experience.
This time, the App wins the App vs Website battle. More on why web apps are slower than native apps can be found here.
#5 Is your product difficult to understand? You have data reports to show, for example.
Examine these two Google Analytics examples (see an image below). When you use a mobile web app to view complicated reports. Second, a native iPhone app with an optimized user interfaces for all data. It would be impossible to use without a native mobile app. Using a web app to scroll, edit and review reports on a phone is a nightmare. Apps that are properly designed solve this.
For complex reporting, calculations, and numbers, you should know that without a dedicated app, you will be unable to use your phone. This time, it’s the app over the website.
#6 Will your user use your product offline?
Limited internet access is a problem in gyms, trains, basements, airplanes, forests, and caves. Because these offline locations exist, it opens the door for developing location-based apps. So, in this App vs Website battle, App wins handily.
If your solution is primarily for offline users, it is best to create an app where users can access data whenever they need it.
Google Maps now allows users to download maps for offline navigation.
With dictionaries, you can translate without an internet connection in any country.
Tripadvisor – allows you to download a city guide so you don’t have to google the most popular attractions, restaurants, or even a map.
#7 Do you have a $10k budget?
If not, there is no point in developing a mobile app.
The UI/UX of an app should be tailored to each platform – Android and iOS apps will always be different – and the backend should be built with the web app in mind.
According to clutch.io, the median cost of an app is 38-171k $. In the US, this translates to 100-150$ per hour.
Your app should be developed for at least two platforms and ideally three if you have 30% iOS users, 60% Android users, and 10% Windows Phone users.
So, to develop apps for three platforms:
- 3 bug fixes
- 3 development teams
- This means 3 times the work for each platform.
You will waste a lot of time, resources, and money if you try to build an app for only $10,000.
The website wins the app vs website battle.
#8 Does your product involve navigation or location-based elements? (GPS)
For example, if you plan to build an app for runners to track their route or a taxi app that orders transport to a specific place, the best possible experience you can achieve is with a mobile native app. In this case, a GPS feature is crucial for your business.
So, ding! ding! ding! In the App vs Website showdown, the app takes the round. But saying that, it is possible to do the task with a web app, but it won’t be as fast and easily accessible as a simple mobile app.
#9 Do you think you’ll be improving = updating your app very often?
If yes, you should definitely go on a website first. Later on, you can invest in cross-platform apps instead of investing in native apps. Most of the banks, news, and media apps are hybrid because they are web-based. This means that your users rarely have to update the whole application, instead, you just update the website content. The benefits of this are clear:
- one platform – imagine having to update Android, iOS, and Windows Phone apps all separately.
- no waiting time – you don’t have to deploy the app to the app store which usually takes 1-5 days.
- no correcting issues – you get an immediate result after uploading it on the server.
The average review time for an iOS app is 4 days based on 216 user reviews submitted in 2 weeks. The problem is Apple can reject you if they think your app has:
- substandard UI
- incomplete information
- broken links
If you want to know more about the most common reasons why iPhone apps are being rejected, have a look here. For Android users, it is way faster and easier to do. The waiting time is around 0.5-5 hours.
#10 Does your competitor have an app?
This might be the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) of your business. While you focus on mobile systems only, everyone else will be focusing on web platforms or delivering an average solution for each platform available.
Make it way more appealing and easier to use for the guy with the mobile phone in his hand. For example, if somebody builds a to-do list app for desktop, tablet, and smartphone, you can just focus on delivering the best possible experience for Apple devices like Clear.
You can also display people’s and company’s insight along with meeting schedules like Accompany. Or shoot amazing time-lapse videos with Hyperlapse by Instagram.
So which do you pick first? Which?
Making a mobile app first may be a huge mistake for many companies and entrepreneurs. Developing a mobile app may seem like a cool new way to connect with users, but keep in mind the 10 questions above.
There are many reasons why you should build apps or websites first, so do it consciously next time. It is possible to create a mobile-friendly single-page application using modern technologies like node.js.
The title App vs Website is ambiguous. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons before embarking on your epic journey to create a mobile app or website. Please contact us if you require further advice.