Web Or Mobile App – What Does Your Startup Need

According to Flurry, only 8% of individuals spend time using their mobile browsers, which means only 8% of people visit websites on their mobile devices. So why is this still a debate in 2018? A lot of high profile companies like Uber and Instagram have invested in a “mobile-first” experience, while others like JIRA and InVision deliberately chose to stick with the web app version. As a new business owner it’s hard to determine if your product serves users better as a mobile app – which offers a better experience on mobile but can be deleted impulsively – or a web app – which, depending on the design, is accessible at any time, yet less simple to navigate from a handheld gadget. You need to understand your product, what it can do and who it’s suitable for. Here are 7 noteworthy things to considering when deciding on a web app or mobile app;

Determine Your Budget And Product’s Goal

It’s common knowledge, before launching a product or starting a business the first question you should ask yourself is what problem does my business or product aim to solve? If there’s no reasonable and definite answer to that question then you probably shouldn’t be investing in the idea. This question not only defines how useful your product can be, it also determines whether your product needs an app or a website. Another factor to consider when deciding between a web app or mobile app is your target audience. Who do you intend to be consumers of your product and where can they mostly be found? Figuring this out will really simplify the process of drawing up your budget and will narrow down what you end up spending on.

Validate Your Ideas

Before devoting resources to building a full version of your website or app, consider launching an MVP (minimal viable product) first. It doesn’t have to be excessive, it could be a landing page describing your unique selling point and key product features with an interactive mockup, or a one or two feature MVP mobile app with no actual backend connected. This way, you get to find out from your target market if they like your idea and if they prefer it as a web app or a mobile app.

ALSO READ  Does your startup need a website?

Determine Your Reach

Building a website is, from a marketing point of view, more convenient than building an app especially if you’re running a startup. Your startup gets exposed to your target audience at a faster rate through search engine optimization, referral marketing, and search engine marketing. It’s almost impossible to get that kind of exposure from a mobile app. However, once you get the ball rolling with launching your website, then you can rely on viral marketing to launch your mobile app.

Does Your Product Deliver Information In Real Time Or Based On Location?

Think about the ways people will interact with your product. Can you make your idea more attractive by offering real-time access to data and immediate value? If your idea can benefit from connecting users with more information immediately, building a mobile app will make more sense. Will you users benefit from information delivered based on their current location? For instance, if you plan to build a taxi app that orders transport to a specific place – the best possible experience you can achieve is with a mobile app because a GPS feature is crucial for your business.

Does Your Product Assume Or Encourage Frequent Daily Use?

Building a mobile app is reasonable if you’re certain that users will interact with your product at least 5 times a day. If your product provides services like transportation (Uber) or social networking (Twitter) then you can be certain that once installed, the services are easier to access and will keep the users updated on the latest in-app events.

Will Your Product Be Available Offline?

There are a lot of cases when a connection may not be available – when on an airplane or in areas with weak signal connection. Progressive web apps can cater to users in those offline situations but a mobile app is more convenient. For instance, Instagram recently added an offline mode to their Android app, which would save all the users’ action up till connectivity is back. That was a particularly wise move as the company is working on expanding its presence in less developed countries. According to data from March 2017, the lowest internet penetration is in Africa (27.7 percent) and Asia (45.2 percent). If you are planning to disrupt one of the local emerging markets, you should keep this fact in mind.

Is Your Product Complex?

If the plan is for your product to display complex calculation or graphs, then building an app will be more user-friendly than building a website. Without a native mobile app, your product will be a pain to use on a mobile device. Scrolling, editing, reviewing reports on a web app can be a nightmare.
While a mobile app might seem like the obvious choice because of how smartphones are changing the world, building an app might not be the best decision for your product. Building a mobile app will definitely make sense as your business grows, but it might not be where you need to start. The decisions depend on a variety of factors like your long-term goals for your idea, your features, and your budget, etc. Thinking through all these variables can make the decision easier.

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