2014 marked a change in internet usage trends. Cellular phones replaced the PC as a gateway to the internet. This change in usage trends affects the way we use and design online products from the ground up.
To adapt products to several screen sizes we can create a responsive platform, develop a mobile application or provide both. How will we know which is best? The answer, as always, depends on what you are developing.
The difference between a responsive or mobile adapted product and a mobile application is simple. If a product required access to the mobile’s inherent capabilities (camera, GPS etc.) than a mobile applications needs to be considered. If the product’s design and functionality is straight forward, for example a content based product (Newspapers, Blogs etc.) or even regular commercial sites with simple management requirements; you should create a responsive product.
Contrary to responsive products, when taking the application route the following needs to be taken into account:
- An application is a piece of software. To use it, a user must download it to his/ her device. As such, it is not exposed to indexes of traditional online search engines.
- An application needs to be adapted to each device type and/or operating system.
- An application might encounter performance issues as its performance is device related. If the owner of the mobile phone uses many applications it might affect the reaction of your application.
- An application’s design is completely different than a responsive design. Since most users open a profile when logging into an app, the application can provide a user biased experience. Moreover, with Push notifications, you have a direct access to the user. For example, when we receive a message on Facebook, the device alerts us of the message by raising a small circle with the sender’s image. In addition, the app can save usage habits such as credit card information, preferences, etc., which helps users get to their destination faster, and so on.
To understand what is the correct option for you, you need to take into considerations all of the above points. They will help you choose wisely.
The writer is Ayelet Geva, , Expert Product Manager, www.pmod.co.il.