There is no question that consumers are increasingly using mobile devices to access all types of content on the Internet. For instance, a Nielsen report from August 2014 shows that consumers are spending on average seven more hours a month using their mobile devices to access the Web and using mobile apps.
There are a few options that brands have to reach customers on mobile devices. You can choose to make a native mobile app, or you can create a mobile-friendly website. In this article, we'll explore the reasons why it makes sense to choose either a mobile app or a mobile website when addressing your next mobile customer experience challenge.
THE BENEFITS OF A NATIVE APP
A mobile app, or a native app, is downloadable software that is meant to run on a particular device. Apple's iOS devices (iPhones, iPads) or phones and tablets running Google's Android mobile operating system are the most common platforms for mobile apps, though Windows and Blackberry also have native apps for their respective devices.
It's hard to beat being one click away from an important task or a set of features. This is one reason apps are so tempting to create. It is also why an app that solves a unique problem or gives a customer access to something he needs quickly and easily is a good solution.
Another benefit of an app is that it can be a very simple, focused experience. Instead of a website that has to be everything to (almost) everyone, an app can be built around a very specific purpose. Placing an order or finding a location are two common uses for apps, and instead of making your customers sift through eight to 10 navigation choices to find these options, an app can put them front and center.
Another benefit of an app over a traditional website is its ability to tap into device-specific features such as cameras, GPS and other things that a standard browser-based website cannot access. If your customer would benefit from access to one of these things while interacting with your company, an app might be a good choice for you.
THE CASE FOR A MOBILE OR RESPONSIVE WEBSITE
Four or more years ago, if a company wanted to have a website designed to enhance the mobile user experience, it would need to create a separate website that was designed and coded specifically for smaller screen sizes.
A few years ago, the term "responsive design" was introduced to our vocabulary, and this approach to website design and development...