Responsive Design, Mobile Sites or Native Mobile Apps – Which One Best Suit Your Needs?

Due to varying web trends and increase in the number of Internet users, most of the business entities today prefer building a website that provides optimal web experience to mobile users. Today responsive web design, native apps and mobile-optimized sites have become the buzzwords to developing a site for mobile users. But as people don’t find things they do on a desktop useful when they’re accessing a site on their smaller mobile device screen, rather than following the lingo it’s very important to focus on the actual needs of your business.

The agenda of this post is to help you better understand which option best fit your needs of promoting your mobile presence.

Responsive Design, Mobile Sites and Native Apps – an overview

Before comparing between responsive design, mobile sites and native apps, let’s first have a brief on all these three options:

  • Responsive Web Design: A responsive website is one that adapts and adjusts itself according to the device screen it is being viewed on. Responsive design responds to users’ needs and environment based on different screen resolutions and platform. So, when a user move from a desktop screen to a mobile device screen, the site automatically accommodates according to the screen resolution and capabilities.
  • Mobile Sites: A mobile website is just like your standard website, as it can be accessed via any web browser; there is only single difference that mobile sites are created for small-screen devices. What’s more? These sites are build to enable users to access any data even when they’re on the move.
  • Native Apps: These applications are designed specifically for a single platform, and usually downloaded via an app store such as Google Play. Every different platform possesses a separate native app.

“Responsive Design” vs “Mobile Sites” vs “Native Apps” – Which One You Should Choose

All of the above three options can help you build a strong mobile presence for your business, but each of them has its own benefits and downsides. And so, you should understand which one of them befit your needs.

A Comparison Between Responsive Web Design and Mobile Sites

Whether you should choose a responsive web design or opt for mobile site depend on the purpose because of which you’re building a site.

  • If you want to compel users to make quick decisions and sell products through your website, then developing a complete mobile site will prove to a worthy choice. On the other hand, if you just aim at constantly updating your site according to new web trends, then a responsive website will best fit your bill. Wondering why? That’s because, updating a mobile site at regular intervals can be a headache as you’ll have to make the updates twice – for desktop as well as mobile version of your site.
  • If you’re tied to a low-cost development budget then a mobile site best suit you needs. Mobile sites requires less money compared to responsive sites which requires writing sophisticated codes, however responsive websites lessens the maintenance needs in the long run.
  • Also, when it comes to optimizing your site for search engines responsive design websites scores better.

A Comparison Between Mobile Sites and Native Apps

When you need to decide between these two options, you’ll have to again understand about the purpose of your site.

  • In case your website is built to promote your mobile presence to a wider audience base, and requires compatibility with different browsers and devices, then a mobile site would be your best option. In contrary, if you need a site that helps you communicate with users in a personalized manner, then a native app is what you need.
  • In case you’re developing any game, building a native app is going to be the best choice for you. But, if you want to provide mobile-friendly content to your audience then a mobile site will work best for you.
  • One of the biggest advantage of native apps over a mobile site is that they can be accessed even without Internet connection, but you need Internet connectivity to access a mobile site.
  • But native apps can be costlier in comparison to developing a mobile site, as you’ll have to develop an app for various platforms. However, mobile site requires less budget as they’re compatible across all the device platforms.
  • Lastly, upgrading a mobile website is easy than a native app in terms of design and content. Whenever you need to make edits to the design and content of any mobile site, you’ll have to simply choose the edit and publish option and all the changes will be visible. However, in case of making changes to a native app, you’ll have to provide the updates to the users, which need to be downloaded in order to update the app across all devices.

A Comparison Between Responsive Web Design and Native Mobile Apps

Now that you have come to know when you should choose a mobile site over responsive web design and native app, it’s also important to understand when you should opt for a responsive design or a native mobile app.

  • Native apps requires approval from an app store to get publish, but responsive sites doesn’t need to wait for any such approval.
  • Another advantage that a responsive site have over native apps is that updates can be easily made via a content management system. However, in order to update an app, users will have to visit the app store and download the changes from there.
  • One biggest downside of a responsive site over native apps is that they can’t work without an Internet connection, while a native app can work offline.

What’s the Conclusion?

Looking at the above comparisons between all the three options clearly indicates that all of them can help to create a solid mobile presence for your business. But each one of them have some set of advantages of downsides, and it depends on the purpose of your business website to decide which one of these options would prove to best choice for you. And so, it’s better to conduct some research and focus on your business to achieve optimal results.