Responsive Web Design Vs Mobile Web App: What’s Best for Your Business?

The evolution of smart phones has truly revolutionized the face of digital marketing and therefore the question remains what’s best for your business: responsive web design or mobile web app?

To find out what’s right for you, let’s first understand both:

Responsive Web Design:

Simply put, a web designer will design your website in such a way that the website adapts to the screen size, operating system and orientation of the user’s device.

Advantage of using responsive web design:

  • Users will have a seamless web experience irrespective of the devices they may use. Responsive web development ensures that your users get the same feel whether they access your website from a desktop, tablet, or a smart phone of any size.
  • Better page rank with a single website
  • Economical and easy to maintain. You need to maintain just one website.
  • Better control over your website

Responsive web designs are best suited for:

  • Content centric sites such as blogs and corporate websites
  • News sites or media sites that scroll from up to down
  • Maps, images where the users can adjust the image on the screen for better viewing

With that said, let’s now take a look if mobile app development will suit your business:

Mobile Web App:

In addition to your normal website, you get a separate website designed from an app development company, specifically for the tablet and smart phone users.

Study undertaken by Flurry Analytics reveal that the time spent by smart phone users on mobiles apps vis-à-vis time spent by people on desk tops and laptops. That makes it having mobile web app almost mandatory for people who aspire to reach out to wider bracket of audiences.

Advantages of Mobile Web App

  • Gives the smart phone users and tablet users enhanced experience such as rich look, better viewing of videos, better readability and offline browsing
  • Enables catering to a wider audience as more and more users are surfing net through smart phone and tablet devices.

With that said, let’s summarize and see how each of the website version fares in a comparative statement:

Comparative Analysis:

  1. Development Cost: The cost of developing a responsive web page is higher as compared to mobile app development. More the number of pages, higher will your responsive web designing cost.
  2. Maintenance Cost: Although the initial cost is high, maintain a responsive website is fairly simpler and cost effective, as you need to do
  3. Time Factor: Owing to the complexities involved, it takes more time to develop a responsive web design than a mobile app.
  4. User experience: The user experience will be much better on a mobile app than on a responsive web design. However, research indicates that people prefer using mobile browser of a responsive website than using an app, while navigating from a mobile app is much easier than through the browser.

Conclusion

There is no one right answer for this. Whether you will benefit from a responsive web design services or mobile app development will largely depend your business needs.

How to Develop iPhone Programs and Apps

Are you interested in developing an app for the iPhone? These apps are a major way to making heaps of money. If yes, then there are four ways to learn, how to do this:

1. One thing you can do is, take your idea to the developer who can build an app for you.

2. You can use an online program builder tool that requires little or no programming.

3. You should learn how to convert a program developed in HTML or other programs for use on the iPhone.

4. You can learn to develop your own apps by learning all the programs and skills yourself.

First of all, you need to decide whether you want to use “web app” or “native app”, after considering all the pros and cons of each approach.

Once you proceed it is necessary for you to know about the apps.

What is a web app?

A web app is fundamentally a website that is specifically designed for or modified for the iPhone. You can use various tools to adapt an existing website for use. It is built with web technologies like HTML, JavaScript etc. If you can build a website, then you can develop a basic web app. You need a URL and link, most of the functions and hardware are not available for you. The Web app is installed on the phone like a native app and not available in the iTunes app store and it is not written in Objective – C.

Pros:

  • Web developers can use the tools what they know and they can modify the current web design and use existing development skills.
  • Not limited to Mac OS.
  • The app can run on any device that has a web browser like Blackberry, Android, etc…
  • Bugs fix in real time and not require the users to upload revised versions of their phone.
  • The development cycle is much faster.

Cons:

  • Hardware access is not available.
  • You must develop your own payment system if you want to charge for the app.

What is a Native App?

A native app is developed using the iPhone system and is installed on the iPhone. The application can use all hardware like speakers, accelerometer, camera, etc. It is available in the iTunes App store which increases their appeal for users. But means that the apps have to be submitted to apple and approved.

Pros:

  • There are excellent tools available through the registration of Xcode, Interface Builder, and the Cocoa Touch framework.
  • You can access all the excellent hardware features.

After considering all these pros and cons, now you have to decide which way you want to go ahead.

1. You can take your idea to the developer who can build an app for you.

There are several developers who will work with you and create a program for your idea and make it registered with the app store. They will fully develop the native or web app for you for an upfront fee, a monthly fee or a share of the profits.

2. You can use online program builder tool that requires little or no programming.

You can use online tools that can use to build your own apps from the templates and various tools any functions, which have the templates and tools. There are some general online app builders that are designed for general business and entertainment needs and more specific ones that target specific needs. Some of the others allow the developers familiar with HTML and Java Scripts to write the code with a specific knowledge of development. It would be nice if you know HTML, Ruby, Java, JavaScript, CSS, Python, PHP.

3. Develop your own apps by learning all the programs and skills yourself.

It may be you need to play various roles for the programming skills and understand the iPhone system, you have to be a researcher, creator, idea developer, entrepreneur, project manager, information architect, user information designer, accountant, developer, marketer and advertiser.

You need some aspect to work on an iPhone app, that includes:

  • You must have an ability to know what works and what doesn’t work for existing systems.
  • You should have market research skills to find out what is in demand.
  • Graphic and layout design.
  • Graphic user interface design, and so on.

Designer or Developer? Determining Your Skill Set As a Student

To this day, I don’t really know what I want to be when I grow up. I went to college with the expectation of graduating with a Computer Science degree, but instead I walked out with a Design degree. If anything, I found that my college career adjustments would be a indication as to how I would eventually fit into the web design field. Even now, I wear many different web hats, but they all fit.

But what about you? What do you want to do? Would you rather be a developer – writing code to solve problems? Or, would you rather be a designer – pushing pixels to solve problems? How do you find out which is more interesting to you? There are a lot of questions you should be asking yourself, but don’t expect anybody to give you the answers. You need to experiment to find out where your strengths lie; and in experimentation, many new things come to light.

Blur or Focus?

First off, what are you more comfortable doing? Again with my example, I started down one path and eventually changed direction, but I made sure a lot of what was learned came along for the ride. If you want to get your hands dirty with both disciplines, I recommend the following right out of the gate:

Join a Small Web Design Team

Being on a small design team forces everybody to wear many hats. To be successful, it’s sometimes required of all involved to adapt in their duties and help each other out. Understanding what your partner is doing and having the ability to step up and work on the same project is important. You work fast and you learn a boatload of information in a small amount of time.

My first job out of college threw me into this environment and I loved every minute of it. Even though I had a design degree, I was expected to help with Flash development, PHP, JavaScript, ColdFusion, HTML/CSS, and even some video compositing from time to time. Small team environments allow you to taste a bit of everything, hopefully finding a new interest in a particular area.

While this scenario allows for gained knowledge on a lot of topics, it also comes with a price: the old “jack of all trades” axiom. Sure it’s great to be able to have a lot of different skills, but you are never truly exceptional at any one of them.

Sure it’s great to be able to have a lot of different skills, but you are never truly exceptional at any one of them.

Join a Large Web Design Team

More often than not, larger teams mean a higher chance of specialization. Here you could have a defined role. You may be able to spend a lot more time in a single discipline, work with others with the same skill set (it’s doubtful that you are the only web designer there), then gain valuable experience and insight.

In either case, you get to try both the developer or designer tracks out. With a small team environment, the structure is mutable, so you can quickly move from the designer role to developer and back again. Be warned that you may not stay on one discipline long enough to get all you can out of it. The learning curve is steep and the skill retention is not very long.

With larger teams, you can more quickly build on your knowledge in one area, but you may not have as many opportunities to try different skills on for size.

Designer and Developer?

A combination of both skills is extremely valuable these days. The “double threat” of a designer who can code a bit or a developer who has an eye for design looks excellent on a resume and is sought after by many a company.

If you are primarily a designer, it would be in your best interest to pick up a web development book or two. Even if you would rather focus on the design discipline, having the vocabulary of a web developer will get you far. It can make the workflow smoother between the designer and developer, and your designs can be better suited to the project since you know a bit of the code’s capabilities. If the site will be in Flash, design for it. If the project will be an HTML/CSS/JS combo, then your designs will reflect this.

I don’t mean to say that you should stifle your designs to meet the code, but keeping in mind how the design will be built will help everybody in the long run. By all means, go nuts with your layout.

Conversely, if you are a developer, speak with a designer from time to time. Learn the lingo, understand the basic concepts of grid, typography, and color. Your CSS will be all the better for it.

This may be a different path to take, but it allows for greater focus in one discipline, while simultaneously integrating knowledge from the other side into your workflow. It can only help you. This isn’t the same as a “jack-of-all-trades” situation. You are primarily a designer or primarily a developer with a small bit of knowledge of the other side – enough to be dangerous. You shouldn’t be claiming to be able to do both at an equal skill level.

Conclusion

Well, up to this point I have been writing in generalities. This was not an accident, and this article wasn’t really meant to tell you what path to choose. The point here is to give you a heads-up on how to approach the choice. If you have a little bit of knowledge in each skill, then you are in a good position to make that next step. If not, here’s your opportunity to learn from others more experienced than you.

If you have already made your decision, good for you! But you may want to think about bringing in some of the other side. Ride the fence a bit. Take a look around and make a smart decision that will benefit all who work with you.