The whole web is confused by mobile

Rob Borley

App, web app, native app, mobile site, mobile app, adaptive design, reactive design, responsive design. What!?!
There seems to be a lot of confusion out there. What do all of these seemingly interchangeable terms mean for me?

We know that we need make our content and services available to the mobile consumer. But how? What is the right approach for me?

The web is confused by mobile

Follow the path

Let’s start by asking some very simple questions.

1. Do I need to consider mobile?

The answer to this is yes and there are lots of reasons why.

2. Do I need an app?

This is the first real question to consider. Believe it or not, not everybody needs an iPhone app.

  • Is your online presence largely content driven? (i.e. most cooperate websites)
    If yes, then you do not need an app.
  • Is your online presence task orientated? (i.e. does it do something?)
    If yes, then you do need an app.

3. You do not need an app. So what do you need?

To optimise your website for a mobile audience you should add a responsive design layer.

4. You need an app. iPhone here we come?

As much as you would like to build an iPhone app it might not be the right solution for you. At this point there are yet more options.

  • A native app?
    Native apps are the little pieces of software that you find in app stores and market places. You can download these to your device.
  • A web app?
    Web apps, much like websites, are accessed through the browser

Whether or not you go for a web app or a native app is dependent on your audience, what you are trying to achieve, and your budget. Both options have their place in the right context.

Some graphical help

Web app or native app?

This infographic was developed by  Leigh Howells. He is one of our UX experts at Headscape. Leigh loves to share the new and exciting things that he is working on so it’s worth checking out his blog and following him on Twitter (@leigh).

If you recognise that the mobile web is important and you need help deciding on a strategy, then book a mobile consultancy clinic.

Book a consultancy clinic or contact Rob about a more in-depth review.