So, you’re looking to create a mobile-friendly solution that will captivate your target audience. Which route do you choose – a responsive website or a native mobile app?

There are advantages and disadvantages for both, so a few things to consider initially are:

  • How much time do you have for development and implementation?
  • What budget do you have?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What is the business priority?

Once you have determined the above questions you will be in a better position to assess the options with your business strategy in mind.

The pros and cons of a responsive website:

Pro: They’re (relatively) quick to develop

Compared to developing an app, responsive websites are relatively quick to develop as they’re built using one code base, keeping development time to a minimum.

Pro: There’s no need for users to download an app

A responsive website can be used immediately without the need to be downloaded to a mobile device. Unless there is a pressing need for an app, users will be much more willing to visit a website rather than download an app, so you should consider this factor carefully.

Pro: Easier to update and maintain

With a responsive website, making a change can be as simple as uploading new files. With an app, you might need to make changes across several different platforms, and then go through each app store’s approval process. With a responsive website, you have control over the version of the software that the user sees and the site should render across any screen.

Con: No access to phone features – camera, microphone etc.

A responsive webpage can’t access the user’s device, so is unable to take advantage of device functionality such as the camera, microphone or accelerometer – although it’s worth noting that responsive webpages can take advantage of location services. It depends how much of a concern this will be to you – these features could either be completely unnecessary to your project, or absolutely vital.

Con: Less “sticky” than a mobile app

Although of course users can bookmark and add your responsive website to their home screen, the reality is that a well-implemented app is likely to be more “sticky” for your users. This might not be of concern, especially if you are developing a one-time purchase platform.

The pros and cons of a mobile App

Pro: Built for the device

One of the key functions of a mobile app is that it will be platform appropriate, providing a unique experience tailored to the user’s device – apps can natively access the device’s phonebook, use the camera and integrate seamlessly with other features.

Con: Expensive and time-consuming to develop and update

Apps can be far more expensive and time consuming to develop, and you are likely to need to develop more than version to cater for multiple platforms.

There also isn’t as much control over the version of app that the customer is using which makes upgrading or improving the software more complicated. When you do need to make changes, they will need to be made across multiple platforms as opposed to just altering one source, as with responsive webpages.

In conclusion…

The decision will ultimately rest on functionality and target audience – if you’re developing a new camera for iPhone 6 users, clearly only an app will do the job. But if you’re creating an online journey to purchase life insurance, a responsive website is much more likely to be a sensible, cost-effective option.

Eclipse Financial Systems have extensive experience in web and application development, and can help your business create a cutting-edge solution – contact us today to get a quote for your bespoke software needs.