Web Application Vs. Mobile App: Finally Answered You Need to Know
A month into 2023, we are still debating whether to develop a mobile or web application for business users. The continuing debate results from the fact that several people use web apps despite mobile penetration. For example, you would prefer the Grammarly web app over its mobile version. Similarly, you would also love to access Asana or Notion on your desktop.
Depending on the application’s purpose and how it will be used, the business can decide whether to go web or mobile. In several cases, the businesses (if they have the required budget) proceed with developing both.
This guide will take you through the definition of web and mobile apps. As a leading mobile app development service in USA, we will discuss the factors separating the web app from the mobile counterpart before helping you determine which way to proceed.
What is a Web Application?
The web application is a software program that users can access via web browsers. It is hosted on a remote server. The interactions and overall navigation is designed in sync with a mobile application. However, the users don’t need to download the web app and use space on their phone to use the.
Basecamp has a web app you can access via the browser and complete your task management. Similarly, you can use the Grammarly web app to check your document and enhance it.
What is a Mobile Application?
A mobile application is a software solution that can run on a specific device once the user has downloaded it. It is designed for multiple gadgets and operating systems. It is developed for on-the-go users.
Several social media apps, such as Facebook and Instagram, are mobile apps. You need to download them on a device (phone, tablet, etc.) to use them. If you are an iOS user, you must use their app store to download and use the app.
Web vs Mobile Application: A Detailed Comparison
We will compare the mobile and web applications using different factors to determine which is better and when.
#1. Updating the Application
Description: An app receives an update or upgrade from the business side. For example, when a feature is added or improved, it is included in the update. The user must use an updated application version to access the feature.
Mobile App: The user will need to visit the app store for the operating system where they are using the application. On clicking the update, they can access the new version.
Web App: As soon as the app is updated, the web browsers will release an updated version to the user. Whenever the user clicks to visit the web application, they will access the new version.
Verdict: The web apps are better as you don’t need to manually update them to access new features. In mobile apps, the user must track and implement the updates.
#2. Installing the App
Description: This translates to how the apps are deployed for the users and where can they access these software solutions.
Mobile App: The user has to download the application to access them. It is device or system specific.
Web App: The user needs to visit the browser, type in the web app URL, and access it. The web apps are system and browser-agnostic.
Verdict: As you don’t need to install the web application, you save a lot of storage space. It doesn’t burden your device by eating into the limited space.
#3. Offline Support
Description: There are times when Internet access is minimum or non-existent. It is important to stay connected with your application during this hour.
Web App: As it is accessed via the browser over the Internet, they don’t offer offline support to the users.
Mobile App: They are stored in your devices. You can access and load the data into the mobile app when they are offline. Once the Internet is available, the device will sync, enabling data storage and retrieval.
Verdict: Mobile apps are the best if you want offline support. It will store the data locally and ensure complete availability even when the Internet is not available.
#4. Reach and Visibility
Description: The application can lead to more profits if you can reach the right audience at the right time and place. If more people know about your business application, they will use it and spread the knowledge.
Web App: As it is browser agnostic, a single web application can reach all users in the target market.
Mobile App: As it is platform specific, you must develop individual apps for the specific operating system. You can go with cross-platform app development; however, it has limitations.
Verdict: The web app is certainly a winner in this category. However, you get better reach and visibility if you plan your cross-platform application using the right tech stack.
#5. App Speed
Description: The time taken for the app to open or for the user to interact with the application
Web App: As it depends on the Internet and browser, you might notice a slight lag in the speed of opening and accessing the application.
Mobile App: The app is installed on the device. It can open faster than a web app. In fact, the mobile app opens within seconds of clicking on it.
Verdict: If your business thrives on the speed of the application, you should go with mobile apps. They can open faster and reduce attrition. You should hire custom web app development services to reap the best results.
#6. Integration with GPS and Camera
Description: The device-specific components are important for specific apps. For example, Uber cannot function without your location data.
Web App: Integrating device-specific components with the web app can get tricky. In most cases, you cannot integrate them.
Mobile App: It is easier for the apps to access the device-specific components required to incorporate specific features.
Verdict: For apps where the device component integration is important, you should use mobile apps. Uber, Instagram, etc., are apps that require this integration and enhance their experience as mobile apps.
#7. App Security
Description: It describes how strong and robust the backend is to protect the data from falling into the wrong hands. It keeps check of the vulnerabilities and errors within the system that can lead to reputation loss.
Web App: The web apps are directly accessed by users on their desktops or laptops via the browser. These apps don’t follow specific design or development guidelines.
Mobile App: The web apps are processed through the app store rules and guidelines before they gain approval. Only approved and bug-free apps are available for the user.
Verdict: To ensure better security and high-quality app outputs, you should opt for mobile apps. The tightened security, app store guidelines, and defined security strategy ensure that the data remains protected. It will increase user experience and downloads. With the right enterprise app development services, you can define the best risk mitigation strategies for your mobile app.
#8. App Maintenance
Description: The app needs to be optimized and improved to meet the new business goals and changing user requirements. Maintaining the app involves updates, upgrades, improvements and feature additions.
Web App: It is easier to maintain a web app as you are mostly looking at a single application. Moreover, they share a single codebase, so you don’t need to work on separate application updates.
Mobile App: It can be difficult to maintain a native mobile application, as you will be working on separate codebases.
Verdict: Web apps are easier to maintain as you handle a single codebase and overlook a single interface.
The ongoing debate on what to choose between web and mobile apps has yet to be a clear winner. It is dependent on the users, the purpose of the application, and the app’s goals.
If your users comprise people who would prefer accessing the app on their laptops or desktops, you should go with web apps. In case you want to gauge your users and check if they would like your app, web apps are a great way to go about it.
However, if you want to increase the conversion rate and improve app engagements, you should go with a mobile application. If your users are dependent on offline support, a mobile app might be a great asset.
It is clearly important to choose the right mobile app development services in USA, whether you choose to go with a mobile or a web application.