With 87% of an over-all population possessing a smartphone and spending 3.3 h/day in them, it is no surprise that companies are striving to provide mobile-friendly access to their brand. The design is the second thing, after the functionality that does matter for a mobile presence. That’s why the design turns to be essential to the success of the business. When a user starts a ‘mobile’ interaction with your company, they usually have the following options: mobile responsive website and mobile app, or both.
In this article, we would clarify the differences in design between these approaches and what benefits each one might have over another one.
Responsive vs App Design
Usable layouts and navigation
Undoubtedly, while making design for mobile devices, we make it for much smaller screens than we would do for desktop and laptops. Thus, designers should consider the best use of available screen space, as well as the most effective placement for buttons, images, headlines, etc. Navigating through the app/website should be intuitive.In case of mobile responsive website, it adapts the desktop design, transforming the layout in a most convenient for a particular device way. Mobile responsive layout is best suited for the so-called “information portals”, the goal of which to inform the users. When designers develop a mobile app, they do not clone the website, but make the most important functionality to stand out. Usually, the visual composition of the app has a little in common with the website design.
When considering the graphical mobile composition follow the principle: users should only see the content they are in need. That in turn automatically prompts them to navigate further. If from the very beginning, the users are overwhelmed with difficult graphics, navigation, and more, they might abandon the further exploring of your website/app.
On practice, it’s much easier to develop an overwhelmed mobile website, than an app. Since, while developing an app, a designer can simplify and change it till the most comprehensible for the users stage.
Focus on simplicity; make the menu and buttons intuitive.
Designing for interaction with users
One of the principle goals of mobile website and mobile app is to provide their users with a new channel of interaction. The mobile website does it by means of 1. ‘Contact’ menu option, 2. Social Media connections, and 3. Online chats.
The mobile app has a bigger variety of possible contact points:
- Contact option + access to the device’s Contact list;
- Social Media connections;
- In-app feedback forms;
- In-app messages and chats;
- NFC (Near Field Communication, based on the user’s proximity to a certain location);
It goes without saying that establishment of mobile presence for your business is a great marketing tool.
Be consistent in the visual continuality of your brand. It’s just as important to maintain your business corporate color on mobile devices. It doesn’t mean that you should cover all screens with one color, but put emphasis on some buttons, headlines, etc. Since, the final marketing goal is to boost sales, pay special attention to the designing of checkout form on your mobile website/ app. If a customer fails to find an ‘add to basket’ button or it’s inconvenient to tap on it, your business loose this customer.
Both mobile responsive website and mobile app, if designed well, can offer this functionality.
Is there any difference?
There is a huge difference between designing for mobile apps and designing for websites. Sure, you would have some similarities like a common concept and vision, but they only go so far. They both follow the main principles of simplicity and user-friendly design (at least, if they done professionally and in a quality manner).
Nevertheless, these 2 approaches require different programming languages and diverse expertise. Since mobile apps can offer a wider range of functionality, there is a greater space for designers’ imagination and visual implementation.
Keep in mind these mobile-design principles, and you will have engaged customers who will bring more conversions. The only thing that matters is your users. All that they are interested in is the experience they have while dealing mobile with your brand. When it is positive, your company succeeds.