THE BATTLE BETWEEN APPS vs WEBSITES

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A mobile app is a software application designed to run on a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet computer. We currently live in a world where everything is digital. Today, most of us own smartphones. There is suddenly an increasing demand for mobile apps. The demand for apps is at an all-time high now. They are typically available through app stores which are operated by the owners of the mobile operating system. Mobile apps can be used to buy music, pay bills, play games, sending messages etc. Let us have a look at the battle between apps vs websites.

Why are apps better than websites?

1) They can be faster. No browser overhead of CSS and HTML and JavaScript hacks, just pure native UI elements retrieving precisely the data they need to display what the user requests.

2) They use simple, native UI controls. Rather than Imagineering whatever UI designers and programmers can dream up, why not pick from a well-understood palette of built-in UI controls on that tablet or phone, all built for optimal utility and affordance on that particular device?

3) They make better use of screen space. Because designers have to fit just the important things on 4-inch diagonal mobile screens or 10-inch diagonal tablet screens, they’re less likely to fill the display up with a bunch of irrelevant noise or design flourishes. Just the important things.

4) They work better on the go and even offline. In a mobile world, you can’t assume that the user has a super fast, totally reliable Internet connection. So you learn to design apps that download just the data they need at the time they need to display it, and have sane strategies for loading partial content and images as they arrive. That’s assuming they arrive at all. You probably also build in some sort of offline mode, too, when you’re on the go and you don’t have connectivity.

Example:

Amazon web:

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The website has a complex UI.

Amazon app:

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The app has a simple UI.

Comparison with mobile web:

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Source: eMarketer

The Mobile Web refers to browser-based Internet services accessed from handheld mobile devices, such as smartphones or feature phones, through a mobile or other wireless network. The vast majority of mobile users expect mobile sites to load in 3 seconds or less and about half will never return to a site that has had previous performance problems. A mobile website will take 10 sec to open while an app will take 1 sec to open. It consumes a lot of battery. Some mobile sites can be cluttered with ads, popups, and content you don’t need to see on mobile. Most mobile sites weigh as much as their desktop versions because they are mobile-adapted, not mobile optimized. Nowadays a lot of people are spending more time on mobile apps. The number of people using mobile apps over has also increased over time.

Major Problems of Mobile Web:

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1) Small screen size – This makes it difficult or impossible to see text and graphics dependent on the standard size of a desktop computer screen.

2) Lack of windows – On a desktop computer, the ability to open more than one window at a time allows for multi-tasking and for easy revert to a previous page. Historically on the mobile web, only one page could be displayed at a time, and pages could only be viewed in the sequence they were originally accessed. But Opera Mini was among the first allowing multiple windows, and browser tabs have become commonplace but few mobile browsers allow overlapping windows on the screen.

3) Navigation – Navigation is a problem for websites not optimized for mobile devices as the content area is large, the screen size is small, and there is no scroll wheel or hover box feature.

4) Lack of JavaScript and cookies – Most devices do not support client-side scripting and storage of cookies, which are now widely used for most Web sites to enhance the user’s experience, facilitating the validation of data entered by the page visitor, etc. This also results in web analytics tools being unable to uniquely identify visitors using mobile devices.

5) Types of pages accessible – Many sites that can be accessed on a desktop cannot on a mobile device. Many devices cannot access pages with a secured connection, Flash or other similar software, PDFs, or video sites, although as of 2011, this has been changing.
5 Speed – On most mobile devices, the speed of service is slow, sometimes slower than dial-up Internet access.

6) Broken pages – On many devices, a single page as viewed on a desktop is broken into segments, each treated as a separate page. This further slows navigation.

7) Compressed pages – Many pages, in their conversion to the mobile format, are squeezed into an order different from how they would customarily be viewed on a desktop computer.

8) The size of messages – Many devices have limits on the number of characters that can be sent in an email message.

9) Cost – the access and bandwidth charges levied by cellphone networks can be high if there is no flat fee per month.

Conclusion:

Although a mobile app functions a lot like a mobile website. A mobile app can be closed or inactive, but still, work in the background to send geo-targeted push notifications and gather data about customer’s preferences and behaviors. It’s also much easier to access a mobile app than a mobile website. So Apps are winning in the race right now.