Adaptive website, mobile version or an App?
14.06.2016
adaptive mob version app

The amount of mobile users in the world is growing and according to research by 2020 6.1 billion people will be the users of smartphones. This means that no matter in what field your business works, it’s time to think about how to get closer to users of mobile devices.

To do that, you have these 3 options:

  • Develop a website using adaptive layout
  • Develop a mobile version of the site
  • Create a mobile app (for iOS, Android, Windows Phone)

Let’s sort out what happens in each of these cases.

Website with adaptive design

If you are developing a website with an adaptive design and layout, then a separate mobile version is not required. Adaptability implies the ability of a website to adapt to the screens of different devices and display equally well on wide screens, on tablets or mobile phones.

image from www.plasticmobile.com

The topic of adaptive design is very extensive and actually deserves a separate article. Now we will just briefly describe its advantages:

  • The ability to show users different content depending on the device.
  • Simplicity in making changes. If you want to add a new block to the site, it has to be done only once.
  • SEO‐benefits. With adaptive site you will not have to deal with driving traffic to the mobile site.

In addition, Google recommends to use the adaptive sites for mobile devices.

Thus, by applying adaptive design we get a website that is equally comfortable to use by any device. However, the development of an adaptive site has its drawbacks:

  • You have to optimize your site for fast downloads on mobile devices.
  • There is a need of images of different size for desktop and mobile devices.
  • The time of testing increases.

Who needs adaptive websites? It is important for corporate websites, online business cards, blogs, news portals. Although the conversion rate for mobile devices is lower than for PC’s and laptops, the amount of orders implemented with smartphones and tablets begins to grow: in 2014 in the US this figure was 19% and in 2015 – already 25%.

Mobile version of the site

Mobile site is a specially created version of the site that users see when they come to your page using browser on a smartphone or tablet. These sites often have their own url (e.g. m.facebook.com.) and are significantly different from the full version:

  • some sections are removed;
  • the home page is adapted;
  • the design and CTA‐buttons correspond to the size of the screen to make them easy to press.

Compared with the same adaptive site, the mobile version is different because it has its own interface and content. For example, here is how Amazon website looks on a PC screen:


And in its mobile version the menu opens on a separate page, and to view products on the main page you have to slide across the screen:


And that’s how looks the mobile version of Facebook:

The advantage of the mobile site is that it’s the most adapted for the convenience of working on mobile devices: weight of pages is compressed, all unnecessary elements are removed. It will be easy for your mobile users to get the necessary information about you and make an order. The disadvantage can be the fact that you have to actually maintain two sites, and make all the important changes twice.

Mobile version may be perfect if you have a corporate website or online business card, which serves as your representation online. But if your site is a commercial platform for the sale of goods and services – you should definitely develop an adaptive site. In this case in terms of conversion the best solution is to develop an application for iOS and Android. Because according to studies, users spend in 18 times more time than in the mobile versions of sites.

Application

Mobile app is not the site, this is the software that is downloaded from the app store and installed on the user’s mobile device. This explains the main pros and cons of this approach. The program is installed directly to the user’s phone or tablet, so he will be able to enter the application even without access to the Internet and use a familiar interface and all the features of his device. At the same time it’s a drawback, since not every user wants to install an app to commit momentary action. In addition, the customer can remove it immediately after receiving the necessary information.

Developing mobile application is very laborious and quite expensive process. Websites are cross‐platform and mobile apps have to be created separately for each platform (iOS, Android, Windows Phone). On the other hand, this helps them to be pretty, convenient and extremely user‐friendly.

So if you develop a good application with convenient functionality and pleasant design, the users will love your product and use it for purchases.

To make a reasonable decision about which option of mobility to choose for your website, it is necessary to study the web analytics data and find out what percentage of users usually come to your site via mobile devices. When creating a new site you should choose adaptability; in mobilizing the existing one often faster and easier option is to develop an alternative mobile version. If you have an online store with a high percentage of conversions from mobile devices – you should think about developing an app.

SoftwareGarage develops adaptive and mobile sites, as well as Android and iOS apps. If you have already decided that your site must be mobilized, let us know. We will advise which option will suit you the best and help your company to get closer to the users of mobile devices.

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