Should you develop a responsive website or a native mobile application?

Mobile App DeveloperMany businesses will admit they need a better mobile presence. The question then becomes – how to best offer that mobile experience? Will a responsive website be sufficient or should you consider a native mobile application?

The basic question any business owner needs to ask himself is, “Do I really need a mobile app?” If you’re a dental office who primarily interacts via in-person consultations or over the phone, then no, you probably do not need a mobile app. The same is true for a restaurant owner with one or two locations.

If you have a physical location, your responsive site could leverage GPS and integrate with maps to quickly display directions. It means that phone numbers are click to call. It means that buttons and text entry fields are touch-friendly.

Responsive websites can be a great solution for smaller businesses looking to move into mobile. Responsive websites are generally less expensive and easier to maintain than a mobile app. There are many content management systems (CMS) that enable administrators to upgrade software and make edits to both the desktop website as well as the mobile or responsive site.

Mobile applications are versioned to be optimized for each platform and display size. For example, the display on iOS, Android and Windows devices are not exactly the same. The screen proportions vary as do the display behaviors. Furthermore, smartphones (such as an iPhone) generally have lower resolution screens than tablets (such as an iPad 3). To accommodate for various screen resolutions, developers have app versions that will display the appropriate graphics. On future upgrades, all app versions should be updated and published to keep consistent.

Mobile apps can be a robust solution for payment systems, user logins, customer service tools, customer loyalty programs, parts or inventory look-up, etc. There are many situations in which a responsive website will not replace a native mobile app. If you have questions or would like to discuss a potential project, please feel free to contact us.

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