Speak Creative | Web Apps vs. Mobile Apps

Web Apps vs. Mobile Apps — What’s the difference?

You’ve been checking out the services page on the Speak Creative website (we’re flattered!) and you see that Speak can create a web app and a mobile app. Or maybe you’ve been considering an app for a while now, but aren’t sure where to start. If you find yourself asking, what does all of this even mean?! This blog is for you. 

It’s old news that mobile dominates our digital world. Meeting your audience on mobile isn’t an afterthought, it’s your first thought. Depending on your organization’s industry and mission, an app may help you better reach your customers on their mobile devices. Once you’ve determined an app is an important tool for your organization, it’s time to decide what type of app is right for you. 

Mobile Apps 

Mobile apps are also referred to as native apps. All this means is that the app is downloaded from an app store directly to your device. The data from the app is stored directly on your device or a cloud service. It’s likely that this is the app format that you’re already familiar with. 

Mobile apps allow for greater customization and can better interface with your device’s native features and hardware. Your phone’s camera and location services would be a good example of features that it’s easy for your mobile app to tap into. 

Web Apps 

Web apps may be less familiar to you but at Speak, our team of web developers is dedicated to staying ahead of trends that offer you better engagement. Web applications utilize web and browser technologies to accomplish one or more tasks over a network (internet or intranet). These are accessed through a web browser and aren’t downloaded and installed on your device. In layman’s terms: you’re interacting with an organization in a web browser but the functionality/interactivity feels like a native app. 

Web apps are easy to update and can be shared in the same way you share your organization’s website. 

How do I decide which type of app will help me reach my goals?

When deciding which type of app is the best fit for your organization there are three things to consider:

1. Speed 

We’re talking about speed in two ways here. How fast do you want your app to run and how fast do you need your app created? Mobile apps offer faster load times and an arguably better user experience. However, web apps can be updated and created much faster. The type of speed that is most important to you can be a determining factor. 

2. Reach

Mobile apps are more of a commitment for your audience because they require precious storage space and home screen real estate. However, once your app has been downloaded it is far more visible to your audience than a web app would be. Web apps are harder to locate because there is not a centralized app store and unless the user bookmarks your web app on their home screen you won’t have the same visibility. 

Though the app store helps mobile apps gain traction it’s important to make sure your mobile app partner can build and maintain your app for both the App Store (Apple/iPhones) and the Google Play Store (Google/Androids). Speak has developers that are experts in both, but many developers specialize in only one platform so it’s an important question to ask when exploring app partners. 

3. Intended Audience 

We’ve already discussed that it’s a commitment for your audience to download your mobile app, so ask yourself if the purpose of your app demands that kind of attention from your intended audience. For example, if you’re creating an order form app that your sales employees will use then you undoubtedly have the loyalty needed to get them to download. Additionally, you’ll want to give them robust offline capabilities, so a mobile app makes more sense. Another example would be a museum that wants to give their audience access to a guided tour through the museum. In this case, the audience has a vested interest in a mobile app download. 

If you’re struggling to decide, know that you don’t have to choose. Several organizations have both a mobile app and a web app. However, many organizations simply chose the app type that best aligns with their budget and goals. Here are a few examples of features we regularly integrate into both mobile and web apps, just to get your gears turning:

  • photo galleries
  • blogs
  • back-office integration
  • calendars
  • shopping carts
  • portfolios
  • product manuals
  • customer service portals
  • push notifications
  • product catalogs
  • location finders
  • social media integration
  • estimate calculators
  • donation portals

Let’s Chat 

Now that you know the difference between app types you’re ready to execute. Well, you’re in luck because executing is what we do best. Let’s explore your goals and begin creating an app experience your audience will love.  

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Posted by Jessica Freeman at 3:40 PM
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