Understanding The Difference Between Apps and Mobile Websites

[tab title=”2013 Edition”]

One of the single most popular articles in Adaptistration’s history is from July 22, 2011. Titled Understanding The Difference Between Apps and Mobile Websites, it has served as a useful resource for clarifying an otherwise confusing topic and since the original publication date, quite a bit has changed in so it is time for an update.

The biggest change to take place in the field of mobile browsing since 2011 is the rise of responsive web design, which responds to the device that accesses it and delivers the appropriate output. The real game changer here is that responsive design draws all of the content from a single source, rather than requiring the site owner to design multiple versions for different types of browsers specifications.

Better still, a responsive web platform won’t play favorites so it doesn’t matter if the device is made by Apple, Motorola, Samsung, or who-knows-what, the end result is the same.

The Big Differences

The most fundamental aspect to understand is apps function separately from your existing website and a mobile website is a variation of your existing website. Here are some additional characteristics to consider for each platform.

Mobile Websites Using Responsive Designs

This option can be reached directly through a mobile device’s web browser and is therefore accessible by all smartphones and tablets equipped with browsing capability and an internet connection.

Benefits

  • A single mobile site can work on any mobile platform (but you can development multiple versions if desired).
  • Comparatively less expense to develop than an app.
  • Can be found and accessed via search engines, websites, and blogs.
  • No outside authority needed to distribute.
  • Ready to go the moment a user accesses it.
  • Never bothers user with manually update.
  • Content managed from your existing content management system.

Drawbacks

  • Requires mobile-first design strategy to completely maximize (not really a negative so much as an eyes-wide-open.
  • You cannot access all of the smartphone’s native functionality (camera & gyroscope).
  • Can’t piggy back on status of third party app distributor.

Apps

An app is a software application that must be written in the native language of a particular platform; the two predominant platforms are Apple (iPhone), Google (Android), and Microsoft (Windows).

Benefits

  • Using native code sometimes results in higher performance.
  • App is distributed through native app stores and potentially enhances distribution.
  • Utilize some native functionality (camera & gyroscope).

Drawbacks

  • More expensive to develop.
  • More expensive to maintain.
  • Requires user to download from platform specific app store before accessing.
  • Requires user to update manually.
  • Must be developed separately for each platform.
  • Useless on desktop and notebook browsers.
  • App stores charge large fees for publishing, certifying, and updating.
  • Require approval of platform before you can distribute.
  • Require manual download by user before it can function.

App or Mobile Website Utilizing Responsive Design (or both)?

In 2011, the choice was fairly balanced but since then, the dominant platform is clearly mobile websites utilizing responsive design. Mobile websites enjoy a much greater reach compared to apps and that translates into substantially higher numbers of unique visitors.

Moreover, consumers overwhelmingly prefer mobile web interface for shopping, searching, and engagement oriented activity.

Although they’ve lost ground in the value added game since 2011, apps still tend to be an ideal solution for organizations that require very specific content delivery needs, such as the ability to stream HD quality video via a subscriber only type of membership.

Conclusions

For now, mobile websites utilizing responsive design dominate the issue of user access and digital accessibility and in a day and age where accessibility is a key element for many performing arts organization’s strategy, mobile web solutions are not only cost effective, but far more likely to help an institution reach overall strategic goals.

In the end, I hope this updated overview has clarified the difference between an app and a mobile website as well as demonstrate how important responsive web design is on the future of web development. If you have any additional questions, feel free to send them in.

 

[/tab] [tab title=”Original 2011 version”]

Among all of the recent changes in maintaining an online presence, one of the potentially confusing aspects is knowing the difference between an app and a mobile website. Of all the questions I receive from potential Venture Platform users, this is the one that is saddled with the most confusion. So, let’s take a moment to make sure you not only understand the difference but whether or not you can benefit from either solution.

Read more

A Reminder About The Value Behind The Live Concert Experience

It never ceases to amaze how much perception can change from one individual to the next and even though it’s no secret that a live concert event is a very subjective experience, we don’t always have a chance to read about it from two very divergent views. Yes, there are music critics but there are few surprises in the traditional concert review format. Instead, I’m talking about the story behind the story, such as all of those off stage elements that intertwine with the music.

Read more

Curious To Know If We're Talking About You?

It was several years ago but I recall sitting at an outdoor cafe with some colleagues during one of those summer arts conventions and half way through our drinks one executive turns to another and asks if he reads Adaptistration. “Of course,” said the executive. “I read his blog every day; if nothing else, I want to see if he’s talking about us.” There’s certainly nothing wrong with good old fashioned self interests but I have to admit that digging through all of the content at Adaptistration can sometimes be more of a chore than it should…

Read more

Why It’s Better to Be Better Than Different

Today’s title is taken from a recent blog post by Noa Kageyama at The Bulletproof Musician (Hat Tip to Frank Almond’s Facebook page). Not only is a great example of a catchy yet meaningful headline, but it also provides some clarity in the identity crisis storm that seems to be plaguing too many professional performing arts organizations these days…

Read more

It Might Be An Eventful Week For Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Orchestra Association (POA) is entering the next stage in their will-we, won’t-we future. If you haven’t been keeping tabs over the past few weeks, here is what has been going on: the musicians’ union filed a request to verify the POA’s current financial condition, the POA submitted an objection to that request, and organization’s strategic plan was made available…

Read more

GET SOCIAL

1.8kFriends
4.2kFollowers
975Followers
7.2kSubscribers
14.3kFans Love Us

TWO WAYS TO SUBSCRIBE BY EMAIL:

weekly summary subscription
every new post subscription
Send this to a friend