It’s not enough to look good on a laptop. Web browsing now moves from our desktops to our laptops, from tablets to smartphones, and back again. Our clients know this revolution is here, but they don’t know what to do about it. Build a mobile App? Create a mobile website that customers can access from their smartphones? Make a site with Responsive Design that changes depending on the device?
We get these questions so much that we hosted a Lunch & Learn to answer them. Over a good Southern meal of chicken, green beans and macaroni (with a little networking thrown in), Jerry took us through the pros and cons of each choice.
Mobile App Pros
First up, a mobile App is just, well, cool. It keeps your brand up-front to customers who put it on their phones, and customers are often impressed when you have one. A mobile App can also give you quick, easy access to information, and that usability can be attractive to customers.
Mobile App Cons
They can be really expensive to build and upgrade. You’ll already need to build separate Apps for both Apple and Android devices, and you’re not guaranteed approval from either company. As devices evolve, you might have to upgrade your mobile App, and that can be expensive.
Mobile Website Pros
A mobile website is a different version of your website that customers see when they visit your site from a smartphone or tablet instead of from a computer. Theoretically, a mobile website can take a customer straight to the information they want without having them pinch, squeeze and sift through an entire site full of information. Beyond easy functionality for customers, other pros include not having to get approval like you do for a mobile App, plus having the ability to make real-time edits and updates.
Mobile Website Cons
You’re effectively creating two websites, one for desktops and one for mobile devices, so, while upgrading may still be cheaper than making changes to an App, it’s still twice the price of maintaining one site. Having a mobile website may also make Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, more difficult, because the search terms are spread across two websites and their impact is diluted. Also, you’re playing a guessing game with your customers, trying to predict what information they’ll want in a mobile site. If you choose wrong, you’re effectively cutting them off from the right information.
Responsive Design Pros
Responsive Design means your website adjusts based on device, so, when a customer uses it on a tablet, it automatically rearranges itself to look great and perform well. On a smartphone, this layout will change a bit, but will look the best and have the highest functionality for that phone. This means you’ll only have one website to maintain. It also means you won’t be restricting viewer experience no matter how your customers view your site. Also, Responsive Design can be easily adapted when technology changes.
Responsive Design Cons
Very old phones may not support Responsive Design, and it’s impossible to have exact, static graphic design, since the look of the site changes depending on device.
We think Responsive Design is the clear choice for most companies. Its drawbacks are minor, and it’s even more attractive since Google announced in June that their search results will favor sites that perform well on mobile devices as well as desktops. Responsive Design means your site responds in any environment, and it allows you to keep your content on one site, so you won’t be diluting your search traffic. That means more customers will find you, and they’ll be happier with their options once they do.
Our Lunch & Learns are a good way to get introduced to Infomedia, and a great way to stay in touch after we’ve built your site. The lunch, the learning, and the networking are all free — we hope to see you at our next meeting! Our next session is going to be a round table discussion with Infomedia’s marketing and development teams. This is your chance to get answers to the questions that have been bugging you.