Mobile App Verses Responsive Design – How to Make the Decision?

Lately, I have been looking at the best way to bring our products into the mobile environment. There are many decisions to make when deciding what the right way to go is. One of those decisions is whether to develop a dedicated mobile application for your site or to update the site with a responsive design. Here is a synopsis of what I have learned.

According to Wikipedia, “Responsive Web Design (RWD) is an approach to web design in which a site is crafted to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones).” This means the site content automatically adjusts size so it is easy to read no matter what device you are using. It is great for sites that have a lot of content, such as company sites, restaurant sites, or blogs.

Often, the biggest mistake is to make an app that duplicates your entire site. An app should have unique features and content not found on your site. Your mobile responsive site does not have to include every page and piece of your full site. You should create a mobile specific menu to give mobile users just what they need.

Reading lots of content on a phone is often difficult. With a dedicated mobile application, you can strip down the original website to just the basic functions you want to perform. You can give the user just what they need and leave the details on the original website. This is better for websites functioning as applications. This includes eCommerce sites where carts are created and orders are placed, and government sites that performs services like […]

Determining a Mobile Device Development Strategy

Mobile devices are exploding onto the IT scene. They seem to be available for every possible application as we move from traditional work on a desktop computer to laptops, tablets and smart phones. As we begin to make this transition, there seems to be a lot of discussion and difference of opinion on how to develop this technology.

There seem to be three camps of thought:

Each device is unique and the best mobile applications are developed in the language native to the device being used. This is of course true, especially if you are developing games, but it also can be extremely expensive if you are developing an application that will be used on several devices. You also leave your application open to have to be upgraded every time the native operating system is upgraded, which seem to happen a lot. The cost to develop in a totally native environment may be cost prohibitive.
By using a technology like HTML5, mobile applications can be developed which are platform independent. This will allow you to develop once and deploy across multiple platforms. HTML5 is the lowest cost solution, but may not give you the best performance across platforms. This may be particularly true with device capabilities like photo sharing and automated address book synchronizing.
In a recent paper, the Forrester group purports that a hybrid development solution will soon become the technology of choice. By using HTML5 plus JavaScript with a wrapper that gives the application native capability, you get the best of both worlds.  There are more knowledgeable coders who develop for the web and wrapping for native capabilities solves some of the HTML5 incompatibility issues. Forrester states that they believe the majority of applications will be […]