Website consulting, design and development. - Frank Holt, Certified Webmaster
Do I need a Mobile Web Site or a Mobile App?

The short answer is yes, because an ever expanding number of web visitors are seeking you out using a mobile device. What’s the difference between a Mobile Web Site, a Mobile Application and a Mobile Hybrid?  Most people refer to all of these as “Apps”.  Most businesses wanting to enhance their Internet effectiveness need a Mobile Web Site not a Mobile Application, which is good because “Apps” cost about five times more than a Mobile Web Sites.

A mobile web site is simply a little web site that works on a mobile device, whether it is a smart phone, tablet or mobile phone with Internet access. It should have a simple message with “finger friendly” navigation links. The most important point to consider when you contemplate a mobile web site is the attention span of your visitor. The one thing all mobile device users have in common is, they are doing something else in addition to using their mobile phone, hence they have a limited attention span for the information you are presenting.

What’s an “App”? These are computer programs designed to run on your mobile device, also known as native applications.  Apps are programs you down load from the iTunes store, Android Market or from company web sites.  They run stand alone, only needing to connect to the internet to check for a new version or to download common information that may change periodically.  Think about the kind of information you wish to communicate to your clients. Do you deliver this information now  via you web site?  If so you most likely need a mobile web site, not an app. What if your information changes frequently, like real estate listings? Then you definitely need a mobile web site that delivers up to the minute content to your visitors by accessing a database on your web server.  There are many apps that really should be mobile web sites because of nature of the changing information.  So why build an app, especially when it cost more than building a mobile web site. The simple answer is distribution through the iTunes store, Android Market Place and now the Google Play.  The more complex answer has to do with the features built into the mobile device and internet connection speeds.  This brings us to the point of Mobile Hybrid Applications, the best of both worlds. They interact with your web server for fresh information content, run very fast because much of the program runs on the mobile device and they qualify for distribution via the iTunes and Android stores. 

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