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Responsive Website vs Mobile App? Get the answers

The difference between Apps and Websites is a bit of a blurry subject, so to help clear it up we’ve shared all the facts so you can make the right decision for your business, because sharing is caring.

Written By:
Trudy Collins
  • 14/01/2014
  • 6 Mins to Read
  • By: Trudy Collins
  • Share

Firstly, what is a Responsive Website?

To put it simply, responsive websites are accessed through your internet browser. It’s interface smoothly adapts itself to the device it’s being viewed on, making it look great on mobiles, tablets and desktops.

Website benefits…

  • Universal: Where Apps are accessible on selected devices, responsive websites adapt to become universally accessible across all platforms and devices.
  • Cheaper: Responsive websites are on the whole a lot cheaper to develop, update and maintain than mobile apps as they require fewer resources.
  • Searchable: If you want your business to be found online in Google searches for example, you need a Responsive Website. SEO can be optimised to enhance this. Mobile apps on the other hand will not appear in search engine results, just something to think about.
  • Easy to Update: If you need to make any changes, update content, add blog articles or even design related changes, this is far easier and cheaper to do.
  • Tight deadline?: If you need to get something up and running, and quick, then you’re best off with a responsive website. App’s can take anything from a week to several months just to get through the app store approval process, that’s after the design and development… sheesh!
Beefeater Distillery Responsive Website

Beefeater Distillery Responsive Website

CycleFox Responsive Website

…and a Mobile App?

‘Mobile apps’ are applications developed for small devices such as smartphones or tablets. Some come preloaded on the device, where others need downloading onto the device either for free or for a small charge.

App benefits…

  • Personal Functions: Apps allow you to use smartphone functions such as the camera, GPS, calendar, etc. They also allow you to use the users personal images, videos, locations and data to create a truly personalised experience.
  • Quicker: Apps are generally a bit quicker at functioning than Responsive Websites, as they don’t rely as heavily on internet connection and network speeds.
  • Complex User Interface: They can be made up of much more advanced and complex user interfaces for a truly customised and tailored user experience.
  • Micro-Purchases: Mobile apps allow you to create an in-app purchasing system, and to make a small fee for each download, which if successful could help your App to become profitable.
  • Push Notifications: Apps allow you to use push notifications to alert the user of a notification or reminder. Although, it is an optional function that the user can easily turn off, so it’s only really a benefit it the user leaves push notifications on.
Snapchat App

Snapchat App

Nike Fitness App

Here’s what we think…

The right answer to which option is going to be the best for you and your business depends on what you want to achieve, but in case you’re still a bit stuck, here is what we think you should be prioritising.

#1 Priority – Responsive Website!
Having a responsive website is vital for any existing business. It should be the first thing you create as it’s what allows you to appear in search results consistently across all devices. You can then team your website together with your social networks and email newsletter campaigns to create a really strong online presence, you can’t do this with an App alone. Learn more from a blog we’ve written about Responsive Website Design.

#2 Priority – Mobile App…
In our opinion, an app should be an addition to your business’s website that takes full advantage of features that only an app can offer, such as GPS usage or the camera function for example. Please don’t develop an app for the sake of having one. Chances are it will be added to the list of 579,000+ app store ‘zombies’ already out there, and then you will sob at all the money and time you’ll never get back. Only create an app if a responsive website won’t fulfil your needs, and if it will be a genuine benefit to your business’s goals.


Need some help?

We’ve created both successful mobile app’s and responsive websites for some wonderful clients, so if you need any further guidance as to what your business would benefit from the most, or if you would like your own awesome looking responsive website or mobile app designed and developed just get in touch!