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What does your business need - a website or a mobile app?

For a business, if you wish to establish a communication and transaction portal with your customers or vendors, there are multiple methodologies present. The most common structures used in present-day are a website or a mobile app with customized features. If you’re planning to establish a mobile presence for your business or organization one of the first considerations that will likely come to mind is whether you want to create a mobile application for users to download (app) or a mobile website, or perhaps both. Mobile websites and apps can look very similar at first glance and determining which is most suited to your needs will depend upon a number of factors, including target audiences, available budget, intended purpose, and required features.

What’s the Difference Between a Mobile Website and an App (Application)?

Before you can evaluate the benefits of a website vs. an app it’s important to understand the key differences between the two. Both apps and websites are accessed on a handheld device such as smartphones (e.g. iPhone, Android and Blackberry) and tablets. However, a website can also be accessed on laptops and PCs. A mobile website is similar to any other website in that it consists of browser-based HTML pages that are linked together and accessed over the Internet (for mobile typically WiFi or 3G or 4G networks). The obvious characteristic that distinguishes a mobile website from a standard website is the fact that it is optimized for the smaller handheld display and touch-screen interface. Increasingly, responsive web design is becoming the new standard for websites that are not only mobile-friendly, but that can scale to any sized device – from desktop down to tablet and handheld smartphones. Websites can display text content, data, images and video. They can also access mobile-specific features such as click-to-call (to dial a phone number) or location-based mapping. Apps are actual applications that are downloaded and installed on your mobile device, rather than being rendered within a browser. Users visit device-specific portals such as Apple’s App Store, Android Market, or Blackberry App World in order to find and download apps for a given operating system. The app may pull content and data from the Internet, in a similar fashion to a website, or it may download (but not everything) the content so that it can be accessed without an Internet connection.