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Mobile site or App? Both!

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Increasingly we are finding that businesses are asking us about bringing their sites to mobile devices, this is before we’ve even had a chance to pitch the idea! As business owners become more aware of the benefits of engaging mobile customers the one question we keep getting asked is: “Do I need a mobile site or an App?“. The answer we believe is both!

 

If you go solely for an iPhone App, you are going to be hit with two problems: 1) only 44% of the mobile market uses iOS (via comScore) 2) even with the number that high, how do customers know your app exists?

 

If you go for an Android app as well as an iPhone app then you gain an extra 28% of the market (up to a total of 72%), but what of the other 28%? Do you build an app for Blackberry (19%) and for Nokia, Samsung and LG who’s various platforms are all part of the remaining 9%? Clearly that would be a fantastically expensive exercise.

 

The best approach we feel is to aim your App at the platforms your target market is likely to have (iPhone and Android, 72%) and have a mobile version of your site as a catch all for the rest. As a added benefit you’ll catch all those users who don’t know your App exists and you can funnel them to your App.

 

Users will not presume you have an App, they will Google you before they search the App store. This is key to understand, your App is a fantastic tool for users who know it exists and want to download it, but many won’t know and some may not want to download it. If these users come to your website you need to be sure that your site is going to display and function well on their device.

 

This can be tricky even for the best platforms. If your site uses a lot of bandwidth (lots of images for example) then this will slow down the access speed of your site on a mobile device, which may well lose you customers. If your sites uses complex javascript, video or even Flash! then you are going to deliver a poor user experience to any mobile user regardless of platform, and a dire experience for those without a good smartphone.

 

Why risk alienating customers? Producing a stripped down mobile version of your site, showing off your sites main features and content with a user interface designed for mobile device will give your users a positive impression of your site and it makes a perfect place to advertise your App!

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