4.1 mobile website or application
When we are planning to establish a mobile presence for PAAC one of the first considerations that will likely come to mind is whether we want to create a mobile application for users to download (app) or a mobile website, or perhaps both. Mobile websites and apps can look very similar at first-glance, and determining which is most suited to PAAC’s needs will depend upon a number of factors, including target audiences, available budget, intended purpose and required features.
Both applications and mobile websites are accessed on handheld devices such as smartphones (e.g. iPhone, Android and Blackberry) and tablets.
A mobile website is similar to any other website in that it consists of browser-based HTML pages that are linked together and accessed over the Internet (for mobile typically WiFi or 3G or 4G networks). The obvious characteristic that distinguishes a mobile website from a standard website is the fact that it is designed for the smaller handheld display and touch-screen interface.
Like any website, mobile websites can display text content, data, images and video. They can also access mobile-specific features such as click-to-call (to dial a phone number) or location-based mapping.
* A mobile site works on all the different app platforms, such as iOS, Android * Converting your current website to a mobile site is considerable cheaper and faster than creating an app from scratch * You can embed a mobile site into an app at a later stage of development * A mobile site can be found and accessed through internet searches and web links on a mobile browser * There is no need for someone to download your mobile site since it is found via the mobile browser * Updating your mobile site is managed via your website management system Cons:
* Mobile sites are not written in native code which can affect quality and performance * While browsing on your mobile site the phone’s features become unavailable * Bookmarking your mobile site can be difficult for some users who will need to input the web address each time they want to view your site
Applications are actual applications that are downloaded and installed on your mobile device, rather than being rendered within a browser. Users visit device-specific portals such as Apple’s App Store, Android Market, or Blackberry App World in order to find and download apps for a given operating system. The app may pull content and data from the Internet, in similar fashion to a website, or it may download the content so that it can be accessed without an Internet connection.
* The use of native code allows the app to run with high performance, quality and speed * Once the app is downloaded there is a single click icon for easy access * Many apps are available offline and do not require internet access * Opening an app does not affect the use of the mobile phone features such as the camera Cons:
* Creating an app in native code only allows your app to run on one platform. If you want it to run everywhere, you need to develop multiple apps — one for each OS. * Your app can not be found directly from a webpage and must be downloaded from an app market * Downloading an app can be daunting for some mobile phone users * App markets often require a fee to publish or certify your app
Advantages of mobile websites
* Immediacy – Mobile Websites Are Instantly Available A mobile website is instantly accessible to users via a browser across a range of devices (iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, etc). Apps on the other hand require the user to first download and install the app from an app marketplace before the content or application can be viewed. * Compatibility – Mobile Websites are Compatible Across Devices A single mobile website can reach users across many different types of mobile devices, whereas native apps require...