Mobile App or Mobile Website UX Comparison: Which Engages More?

September 21, 2022 12 min read
mobile app or mobile website ux comparison

With 307 million smartphone users in the USA alone (Statista), your business needs to reach the maximum numbers for better conversions. In a mobile-dominated world, you constantly pit the website against the app to check which way to go.

While a website is critical to get the first visit, an app initiates ongoing visibility. The website gives you the lead, while the app helps you convert. The mobile website and app are two sides of the same coin.

The question remains concerning user interface and experience design. Which is best, web or mobile is a constant question that helps set the budget, define the strategy and determine the processes.

Here, we will take you through an in-depth comparison of mobile apps vs mobile websites to determine which UX works best.

What is Mobile App?

A software application designed to be downloaded and run on a particular device. The user will need to download the mobile application to their devices and run it. The services may or may not be similar to the business's website or other desktop services.

The biggest pro of a mobile app is that it can run in offline mode. At the same time, you can develop mobile applications for multiple platforms using a cross-platform development approach.

Native mobile app development is slightly expensive; however, it is the best fit when you want to deliver a high-end experience to your users. In the case of native app development, the apps can easily access the components of the device, which results in high performance and speed.

  • Whatsapp is an excellent example of a native app. Owing to the need for an application that can provide real-time and instant messages and extensive photo/video sharing, it used a native approach.
  • Instagram is a multi-platform app that was developed using React Native.

Now that you know what a mobile app is, check out the advantages and disadvantages.

Pros and Cons of Mobile Apps

Here are the pros and cons associated with mobile apps.

Pros Cons
Increases reach and visibility Large-sized apps can increase bandwidth usage
Loads faster Bad experiences can ruin impressions and experiences
High-performance solutions Regular updates are needed
Connectivity in offline mode Maintenance and support required
Available on your devices Expensive to develop, especially native development
Better revenue generating  
Ability to personalise  
Push notifications for better engagement  
Better user experience  

What is Mobile Website?

It is a website that has been designed for mobile screens. The URL used to access mobile websites: m.yourwebsite.extension.

It is more of a condensed form of the original website. The screens are resized to suit the needs of the small screen.

The mobile sites tend to render the pages on narrow columns. It is natural (given the size of the web pages is smaller than the regular site page size).

The content and design are done so mobile visitors can view the pages on the go and take the necessary action.

In the case of a mobile website, large files and images that can crush the speed are removed for better rendering and smooth performance.

Pros and Cons of Mobile Website

Pros Cons
Tailor the experiences to support to goals of the mobile users Cannot be accessed in offline mode
Easy to use and implement the mobile websites The mobile website may not have the features or functionality of a website or the app
High-performing sites as they load faster and provide information immediately You might experience slight friction in the mobile app experience
Wider reach as it can be accessed by people across platforms It is not accessible, unlike the mobile app. You cannot download it locally and use it on the device.
It is platform agnostic, as it is used on browsers  
The need for support or maintenance is less with mobile websites. They don’t need to be upgraded too often  

 

We have discussed the differences between a mobile app and a website. Let’s take a detailed look at the UX differences.

Mobile App vs Website: Detailed UX Comparison

mobile app vs website ux comparison

We will be using the image here to analyse the UX design for mobile website vs mobile app. It will help understand which is better, mobile or web, concerning UX design.

usability comparison

Useable

Meaning: This is the most functional part of a UX design. It takes into consideration the previous learning curve and helps the users use the website/app with minimal effort. The user need not learn the technology, technical aspects, or master other elements to use the website/app.

Mobile Website Mobile App
The mobile website is a replica of the website for the small devices The mobile app is specifically designed for the target market
The menu, as well as other aspects, are drawn for the small screen using responsive designs It takes into consideration the mobile app users, the way they interact with the mobile apps, and how they consume solutions.
The menu and the button sizes may be small and not too visible Their past consumption patterns and app types are taken into consideration

The Better One: Mobile App

Explanation: The mobile website design may not be intuitive or efficient to meet the end user’s goals. Chances are while copying the website menu, you could not offer the same experience on the mobile web.

On the contrary, the mobile app is designed after considering how the user uses it. As a result, the buttons are planned to full vision. As the elements are designed for the app, it is properly visible.

valuable comparison

Valuable

Meaning: If the user experience design adds value to your business in terms of loyal customers. Did the design help you create user stickiness? If yes, the design will help you offer better value to the company.

Mobile Website Mobile App
Interactions may not be smooth on mobile website With one screen, one task, the interactions are smooth
While the screen size and elements adapt to the size of the device, the customers need to keep scrolling to get to the point The app interface elements are designed using the design guidelines of the particular platform
It might lead to frictions in usage  

The Better One: Mobile App

Explanation: As there are fewer elements on display on the app as compared to the website, it becomes easier for the user to take action. As a result, they stay on the app longer, bringing value to the business. That’s why the app comes as a more valuable and engaging element in mobile app vs website.

findable comparison

Findable

Meaning: The design should make it easy for the users to locate the things on the app or website. It should be more on the lines of intuitiveness.

Mobile Website Mobile App
If you have used websites, handling mobile websites is easy When the first on-demand app was launched, it required some understanding by the users
There are fewer things to explore, so it is very intuitive There could be a slight learning curve associated if this is a new app type or niche
Finding things may not be very difficult  

The Better One: Mobile Website

Explanation: As it is an extension of the website, finding things and using the website is way easier than mobile apps. From the findable perspective, the mobile website UX design is more approachable.

accessibility comparison

Accessibility

Meaning: Check if everyone can use the app or website. The design should be inclusive. Interactions should be smooth for all user types in the target market.

Mobile Website Mobile App
The mobile web is a direct translation of the website The apps are designed after carefully analysing the audience
If the design for the website is accessible, the mobile web would be accessible The user interactions and their methods of holding the phone are considered
As the buttons and action elements are resized, if not appropriately designed, they would be in the “out of reach” zone of the mobile web The mobile app UX design ensures inclusive design for better interactions

The Better One: Mobile App

Explanation: For the mobile app UX design, you take into consideration multiple aspects of the user. You will even ensure that the app is accessible to people with abilities and disabilities. The app can be designed to offer a smoother interface and intuitive navigation.

useful comparison

Useful

Meaning: This is more on the content side. It should be both useful and unique for the customers.

Mobile Website Mobile App
The content is in sync with the user’s needs The apps are designed to help customers complete the task
Websites are more or less used to understand the brand and get more information For example, a productivity app will help the user manage the time
When you plan website UX design for usefulness, you should cater to the content and interaction requirements Similarly, a game app can help as a stress buster
  There are unique forms of content that are useful and connect with a relevant audience

The Better One: It is a tie

Explanation: You can create a useful website and app if you have researched the users well. The idea is to know the end users and what content they need and build an excellent solution.

reach comparison

Reach

Meaning: How many people will the application or website reach? Does it help penetrate deeper into your target market?

Mobile Website Mobile App
The website is accessible by more people as it is platform agnostic Depending on the approach, you will receive the reach
There are fewer compatibility issues here If you take the native development approach, you will notice that the penetration is limited
  Cross-platform development will give you a better reach

The Better One: Mobile website

Explanation: As they are compatible with all mobile devices and operating systems (as they are platform agnostic), they garner better reach for the business. If you compare reach for mobile app vs website, mobile web is the winner as it is compatible with all platforms.

A mobile website is a better way to improve visibility in the target market.

credible comparison

Credible

Meaning: Credibility plays a pivotal role in mobile app vs website for user experience comparison. It sets the expectations for the users, and ensures that the software lives up to them.

Mobile Website Mobile App
Complete information and transparency can translate into credibility A mobile app UX design is credible when it fulfills the promise of solving the issue users face
Content created for the small screens that help the customers know what the business offers can improve the trust It is important to optimise it for visibility and design for familiarity to improve credibility
Reviews and testimonials that are legible for the small devices  
When planning website UX design, you should ensure your site is optimised for the search engines  

The Better One: Tie

Explanation: Both mobile web and app can define credible experiences and build trust if designed the right way. The credibility design factors considered will be different for them. However, it is important to solve the end user’s problem, know your target audience's requirements, and design past user interactions to make them trust you.

desirable comparison

Desirable

Meaning: the software should be engaging and help the users complete the jobs

Mobile Website Mobile App
Imagine filling out a form on a mobile website Even the most negligible activity is designed keeping in mind the mobile users
It is rendered from the desktop to the small screen As it is exclusively designed for the small screen, all the hard-to-go areas remain unused
It may or may not be completely friendly for the small screen holders Voice inputs and searches can be integrated for a better experience
The users might want to fill out the forms on their desktops  

The Better One: Mobile App

Explanation: The apps are designed for small screens. As a result, it helps deliver better engagement and usage than the website. Even the smallest actions occur faster on the mobile app. As a result, they are more desirable.

In the quest for which is best, web or mobile, we found that mobile apps are way better in terms of interaction and engagement.

Let’s answer a few frequently asked questions to help make informed decisions.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are web apps better than mobile apps?

✅ From the reach, cost-effectiveness, and development speed perspective, web apps are better than mobile apps. However, mobile apps win hands down regarding experience, accessibility, convenience, and connectivity.

2. What technology is used to build a mobile website?

✅ Popular technologies such as HTML, CSS, and PHP are used to build a mobile website. It is easier to find developers with experience and expertise in these technologies.

3. How to make your mobile app secure?

✅ Including encryption, two-factor authentication, layered security, and role-based access can help improve security. You should ensure that the data access is limited to fewer people. Complying with data security standards can also help.

Conclusion

In this article, we discussed in detail the mobile web vs app from a UX design perspective. The purpose is to understand which of the two is the more efficient, practical, and engaging solution for your business.

While mobile websites are a subset of the website and help improve your reach, apps help improve engagement. Apps are more convenient, accessible, and interactive.

Developing mobile apps should be on the cards if you want to penetrate the market and improve conversions. Expert App Devs has developed 500+ mobile apps using native and cross-platform development approaches. Our experts have devised exceptional processes and methodologies to launch interactive and engaging applications.

If you plan to develop a mobile app for your business, connect with our team by filling out the contact form.

Read More:

✓ 5 Key Principles to Boost Your UX Designs for Conversion

 Mobile App Redesign: When and Why Answered

✓ Mobile Game Design: A Complete Guide

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