March 22 2017

Sales of smartphones continue to rise - what's your mobile strategy? 

If you are considering how best to reach your customers or service users on their mobile devices, the first step is a basic understanding of your options.

Responsive Website or Mobile App?

A responsive website is the first priority in any mobile strategy - a single website that adapts to any screen size so it's as easy to use on a smartphone as it is on a tablet or a desktop. At Mucky Puddle, all our web design projects deliver a responsive website as standard.

Mobile apps take the mobile experience to the next level. A well-designed mobile app will present navigation, content, and functionality that is specific to mobile users and the actions they wish to complete. These mobile-optimised experiences can provide a more engaging and effective user experience than responsive web design can achieve on its own.

Mobile apps come in two basic formats: Native applications and mobile web applications. The two types of app can look and feel similar, but are quite different.

Native Mobile Applications

A native mobile application is a piece of software that has been developed for a smartphone or tablet and installed on the device itself. In the same way that Apple software doesn’t work on a PC, each native mobile app only works on the platform for which it was built. If you want native apps to work across all mobile platforms, you must build separate versions for each platform. At Mucky Puddle our developers use specialist tools to ensure that as much as possible of the basic app development is re-usable across platforms, but a degree of platform specific development is unavoidable in order to deliver an app that works on each of iOS and Android platforms.

Mobile Web Applications

A mobile web application is accessed through the device’s web browser. Mobile web applications do not require installation on each device, and are platform independent, meaning one version can work on all devices. A mobile web application can simply be a responsive version of  a web application that is also available on a desktop version of a website.

Which App? 

Both options have pros and cons, and the right solution for you will depend on your business requirements - the extent to which your users are likely to use the app when they don't have an internet connection; whether you need to access the hardware sensors such as camera or microphone on the mobile device; the importance of security; and the need to integrate to existing data sources... There is a whole range of factors to consider, and in some cases, the best solution is to combine both types of app.

You can use native apps to deliver the functionality to which native apps are most suited, whilst also re-using data and functionality from existing (desktop) web applications, and integrate the two so that the user has a streamlined experience. Sound complicated? It is, but luckily our extremely talented developers are willing to risk premature aging to come up with the best mobile app solution for your business  - meeting your customer and business needs whilst keeping things as simple and as budget-friendly as possible.

If you'd like to discuss your mobile strategy or have an idea for a mobile app, don't hesitate to drop us a line or give us a call.