I recently had an interesting call with a client about whether or not he should build a mobile app. It’s no wonder why he was curious – last year
That said, I proceeded to explain and define some of the common terminology being used, and the key differences between them:
# 1. Mobile compatibility
If a website looks good on a mobile device, you could say it’s compatible or responsive. Meaning, a visitor may have to zoom in and out to view the content, but it’s streamlined, looks clean and functions well. Most web agencies these days build websites that are compatible with most popular mobile devices. If yours isn’t, reach back out to the agency that provided the service and request this very basic improvement.
# 2. Mobile version
Some companies use mobile versions of their website. What does this mean? Well, when the website is accessed by a mobile device or tablet, the design and styling changes. Most mobile versions of websites focus on the content, so visitors are able to browse around quickly and conveniently. I refer to this as thumb-savvy. There are dozens of mobile site providers with cost-effective solutions, including Mobify, Wirenode and Onbile – just to name a few.
# 3. Mobile app
Developing a true mobile app, and offering it to the public may or may not make sense for your business. This is something that only you know the answer to. Obviously having static presence on a mobile device is worth it’s weight in gold – but will your app have a function that isn’t already offered through your website? If your intent is purely informational, you may want to ensure your site’s mobile compatible or invest in a mobile version instead. If you’re interested in developing a true mobile app, I’d recommend getting in touch with your web partner to decide on purpose, function, and best practices.
If you’re not sure what to do, get some advice from a trusted third-party. And at the very least, feel confident knowing that your site’s compatible with the many mobile devices accessing it on a regular basis.
Quick Tip: Check your Google Analytics (or whatever website tracking software you use) to see how many visitors access your site with a mobile device (go to Audience > Mobile > Overview). The results are typically very surprising.
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