Why Mobile site is more user friendly than Mobile Apps? TG was asked a couple days ago.
I have a chance to develop a mobile site and app for a classified site a year ago, what I have experienced can be summarized as follows:
- Mobile site can be accessed by users instantly. There’s no need for them to install, download and apply for an id if the app is from Apple. Mobile apps also can only be used in smart phone device while Mobile site can be viewed across all devices.
- For those who take user experience into account, they can maximize the benefit of mobile site with responsive web design which provides an optimal viewing experience to users across all platforms – tablets, smart phones and computers
- Mobile site users can see all updates from its platform’s operator instantly. There’s no time lagged. It would be a great tool for news reporting website operators. Yet app users have to wait for another round of download in order to see the latest update.
- Mobile site can be indexed by search engines, its url will be captured by Google, Yahoo and to be presented under SERP, users can search and browse its url through different browsers.
- With Facebook, Weibo, Twitter or other social media tools, mobile site can be liked, shared and retweeted by users.
- Mobile site users can view multi-media files: google maps, video, text and photos
Mobile Apps do not lose all the way though. They still has their upside:
- Mobile App serves well if it has an unique function. Most often, I found mobile app users tend to be more goal-oriented and they have a specific task to achieve. For example, users can take pictures of their own products, upload and push them through the classified app.
- Mobile App has done a better job than Mobile site in some industries, categories. Nielsen reported in August that travel industry is increasingly using app to grow its business. Games and Movie Ticketing industries are another explicit categories.
- Mobile App users can access content or use a specific function without Internet connection
- Mobile Apps usually work faster
Bear in mind that creating a mobile apps are more expensive than building a mobile site in Hong Kong. Also TG suggests building a mobile site first
If you are interested in mobile site usability guidelines, suggest reading Jakob Nielson’s blog post and Smashing magazine articles. WordPress has a plugin - WPtouch that convert a regular web site to a mobile site easily.