Tips on Choosing a Mobile Web Design Platform
Consumers book flights on their desktop during work, purchase movie tickets on their smart phone while riding an elevator and pay bills on their tablets during their favorite television show. It is impossible to guess how someone will consume your content throughout the day and it is imperative to stay relevant across user devices. What kind of experience are you currently creating for your viewers on their mobile phones? If someone visits your site on a smart phone and easily navigates from page-to-page, they will spend longer amounts of time on your site and be more likely to come back again. When it comes to building brand relationships with smart phone users, mobile design is a necessary investment, well worth the time and cost.
Below are four choices to help you reach and interest mobile viewers:
1. Responsive Design: As the most efficient option when designing a site and also one of the most seamless, this choice enables you to create one site and design it to work on multiple platforms. With a new smart phone popping up almost every day, responsive design eliminates the need for constant updates and resources by displaying content relative to the size and dimensions of the screen. The benefits of responsive web design are clear, but there are a few limitations for organizations aiming to offer a unique user experience. You can read more on responsive web design here.
2. Native Applications: A native application is an app that is specifically designed to run on a device’s operating system and usually needs to be adapted based on each device. This type of app works best when your goal is to create a completely unique mobile experience. For example, a grocery store might want to help customers create custom shopping lists based on characteristics like what the store has in stock or what items are on sale each week. Customers would benefit from taking the extra time to download the native application and would hopefully come to rely on the application every week, building loyalty to the brand. Native applications are significantly more expensive to create and require maintaining code in several languages. However, if you have the resources, native applications offer a more enjoyable mobile user experience.
3. Web/Browser Applications: A web application downloads software from the web each time it runs. With browser-based Web applications, the data for the application is stored locally or on the Web. Web applications can also run without the browser, using a client program which interacts with a server on the Web using traditional Web procedures. The benefits of Web applications involve direct control over the application’s distribution and potential cost savings.
4. Combination Applications: Using a hybrid design offers a compromise and utilizes components of both native and Web applications. Most smart phone applications operate with this method and integrate with the phone’s file system along with Web services. In the long term, this format can lead to a clunky browsing process and may not be worth the saved money.
Before making a final decision, consider the current site infrastructure, evaluate business goals and determine how you want the final product to function. Each project will be different and with each site, you’ll learn which solutions work best for your needs.