Are Mobile Apps or Mobile Websites Better for Businesses?

When a company decides to create a mobile platform, there is often a question of whether to go for a mobile app or a mobile website. The answer to this question is going to depend entirely on what the company wants to achieve, and what the company does.

A publishing company that offers monthly magazines, or a company that requires a lot of interactivity from the customers might be better off with an app. Companies that do not necessarily require a lot of user interaction, but focus more on having content for users to view via text, picture, or video, might be better off going with a mobile website.

There are several reasons for this which will be explored throughout the article.

Mobile Apps

One of the greatest reasons to create mobile apps is primarily to get a company’s branding on to users’ phones, according to Harvard Business Review. This is an advantage for a number of reasons. The biggest one is due to the sheer number of people that are constantly using mobile phones or tablets that reside within the same ecosystem.

shopping apps
photo credit: Jason Howie

The perfect example is Apple users. If a user owns an iPhone, chances are they are using, or plan to use another Apple device such as an iPad, iMac or Mac Book. Through Apples app store, once a user pays for an application, they can download it to a number of Apple devices. This means that the user can have generally the same experience across multiple platforms, and have access to the exact same information in the same environment across multiple platforms.

The above creates huge possibilities for companies who want to write a program once and know users will have the same experience across multiple platforms. The accessibility also helps speed up the web development process as well as creates an easy way to roll out updates, and have a trusted source provide a platform for users to get an application.

When creating these applications, the web designers have to focus on making sure the application feels like an application, and not a website ported over. However, if it’s done correctly, a web designer can save a lot of time and have a lot of possible ways to create a unique user experience through applications.

Mobile Websites

According to, 17.4 percent of Internet users are browsing from a mobile device, meaning mobile websites are increasingly important.

Mobile websites are generally best used when a company wants to recreate a lot of the information from their regular website, and move it into a more mobile friendly environment – either via using responsive web design techniques or build a standalone mobile site.

mobile website
photo credit: Serge Kij

When looking at mobile app vs mobile website, web designers have to keep in mind what they are using the given platform for. Mobile websites are an easy way to give easy access to static information to users on mobile devices. Mobile websites are also great because, through templates, or responsive web design, web designers are really given an easy way to create mobile sites as an extension of a regular site and moreover, one can even design a free website if they want to first experiment and then go in for the final product.

Which Is Better?

Whether a mobile site or mobile app is better depends on the goals. If a web designer wants a platform where they can provide lots of interactivity, they should utilize mobile apps. If the web designer wants to create an easy extension of a regular website, a mobile site is going to be the best option.