How Does App Design Differ From Mobile Web Design?

There’s no doubt that all businesses want to be seen on mobile phones, given their proliferation across modern society. But this raises an important question: is it better to invest in a web developer for the sake of optimising your existing web content for mobile devices alone, or should you also enlist the services of an app design company to ensure your organisation possesses both web and mobile app visibility?

Considering that there are 21.6 million smartphone users in Australia, having an app as well as a mobile optimised website makes perfect sense. Aussies love to shop online using their smartphones as well, with research showing that over 80 per cent of the population shops online and that the Australian eCommerce market is expected to reach $35.2 billion by the end of 2021.

Businesses that do not provide a mobile experience for their customers are being left behind in the digital dust of their forward-thinking competitors, so it is vital to ensure your business has at least a mobile optimised website or an app – but which option is worth developing first?

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What is a web app and how does it differ from a mobile app?

Web apps and mobile apps have very different functions, but you cannot display a full desktop website experience on a small mobile phone screen. That is where mobile optimisation has come into play, providing a method for displaying all the essential elements of your website by condensing them into a streamlined and easily navigable mobile experience.

Mobile optimisation is also referred to as a web app because it crunches your website information in a way that essentially resembles an app. Consumers go to websites for information and this optimisation is undertaken in order to deliver that information as quickly and easily as possible. You can use breadcrumb navigation to boost your site’s usability as well as determine how people are using your website, and eliminate lower performing pages and functions. 

A web app provides consumers with fast access to company and product information, and provides your company with extra sales funnels to help drive purchases. When it comes to web apps, ideally only necessary information must be displayed, the web app has to be fast and provide a satisfying customer experience, as well as meeting SEO requirements to ensure your web app ranks highly on Google results pages.

What consumers expect from a native app

Consumers love all the perks or incentives that come with mobile apps so naturally, they’ll have expectations on what yours will deliver. You cannot simply mirror your mobile optimised website in your mobile app, as this will fail to meet consumer expectations and they will quickly uninstall your app. Not to mention that building the same UX twice on two different platforms is also likely to be quite a waste of resources for your company.

A native app for businesses should provide a unique and favourable consumer experience, while also gathering data on their personalities, behaviours, and spending patterns to create better sales experiences.

Like web apps, native apps should be kept simple. Overloading your mobile app with too many features can confuse and overwhelm customers, so it is better to keep your app’s UI clean, simple, and easy to navigate. 

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What else to consider when developing your mobile app

Alongside providing your consumers with unique deals through interacting with your mobile app, you may also choose to add social media and sharing buttons to your app so that your customers can use their social media accounts to take their interaction with your business across multiple platforms. You may even allow customers to customise their experiences on your mobile app to suit their personal style.

It is important to recognise that apps are not hard-selling tools, instead, they provide value to your customers both in the form of deals as well as in the form of a positive experience. This is likely to make them more loyal to your brand, effectively boosting your organisation’s customer retention rates.

The information gathered in your app can also be used in social media and Google advertising campaigns, allowing you to build a detailed profile on your ideal customer so you can reach the right people that are motivated to purchase.

Ultimately, businesses should have both a web app and a native app. As these two digital channels have such different yet equally important functions, they can provide a complete and optimal digital experience for your customers.

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