Apps vs Mobile Websites
Increasing we are being asked this question.
While there maybe reasons for your practice to consider a mobile app, there are some very cost effective alternatives for most functions that clients look to mobile apps for.
Functions common to both Websites and Apps can include: General Content, About, Profiles, Services, Galleries, Why Choose, Contract, Blogs, Product links, Videos, Social, Forms.
Below is a table of the features and benefits that may require a mobile app or a website with messaging.
As hand held usage dominates most Australians access to data and the web many surgeons ask do I need an app. And at YPO our considered answer is a definite maybe.
While mobile websites and apps can look similar, determining the need for an app will depend upon a number of factors, including target audiences, available budget, intended purpose and required features.
Start With A Website
It rarely makes sense to build an app without already having a mobile website in place, so first, let's outline the differences and advantages of a website or both a website and an app.
If your goal is to offer mobile-friendly content to the widest possible audience then a mobile website is probably the way to go.
Even where a App is justified, having a fully mobile responsive website is a must.
Mobile friendly websites can be accessed by any internet connected browser and is designed for the smaller handheld displays, is touch-screen interface and scales size,
They display text content, data, images and video. They can also access mobile phone specific features such as click-to-call, camera, microphones or location-based mapping.
Why Consider An App?
When it comes to deciding whether to build an app or a mobile website, the most appropriate choice really depends on your end goals.
Apps are useful for a specific purpose that cannot be effectively accomplished via a web browser.
Another advantage of an app is its ability to run without continuous access to the internet, but refresh data when access is available
Mobile applications must be downloaded and installed on your mobile device from a portals like Apple’s App Store.
Website vs App Comparison
If your goals are primarily related to marketing or public communications, a mobile/responsive website is almost always going to make sense as a practical first step in your mobile outreach strategy.
This is because a mobile website has a number of inherent advantages over apps, including broader accessibility, compatibility and cost-effectiveness.
Where Do Apps Make Sense?
When developing an app you want to ensure that you avoid needless and expensive exercise of building an app to do something basic that can be achieved with a mobile website.
Firstly, is your app idea something truly unique and useful?
Despite the many inherent benefits of the mobile web, apps are still very popular, and there are a number of specific use scenarios where an app will be your best choice.
If you want to provide a gaming interface or the feel of a computer program or if you need access to a user's phone storage and some native functions, then an app is probably going to be required.
Practices who are looking for the following should consider the following:
- Regular Usage/Personalization – If your patients are going to be using your app in a personalized fashion on a regular basis then an app can provide a great way to do that. Examples are Maternity, Bariatrics
- Complex Calculations or Reporting – If you need something that will take data and allow you to manipulate it with complex calculations, charts or reports (eg: banking)
- Native Functionality or Processing Required - such as location or proximity tracking, but nowadays mobile websites can access mobile functions for: Communications - Click-to-call, SMS, GPS or Phone Functions - Camera, Voice Recording
- Interactivity/Gaming – for interactive an app is almost always going to be your best choice, at least for the foreseeable future.
- No connection Required – If you need to provide offline access to content or perform functions without a network/wireless connection then an app makes sense, but for common use this is less or an issue
What Your Practice Needs?
While some practices have both a mobile-friendly public website for their general web presence, as well as a downloadable native app to accommodate more specific requirements. In the end, it's all about choosing the right tool for the job.