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Dato Mar 3, 2017

Differences between the development of Mobile Apps and Websites

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Differences between the development of Mobile Apps and Websites

Differences between the development of Mobile Apps and Websites

Over the past few years, thanks to the huge success of mobile apps like Whatsapp, Instagram, Waze and many others, several companies felt the need for an app, and that constantly happened without proper planning of its features, as well as the differences found on its conception and development processes. With that in mind, this text contains some important issues one must be aware of when developing apps, as opposed to creating websites, which many companies are already used to do.

1. Purpose

Generally, the purpose of websites consists on being a reference of a given company on the Internet, as well as provide a description of its services, products, adresses, and also to serve as a place to do online shopping.

Apps, on the other hand, are to be used when there is the need of constant access, be it is some times a day, a week, or a month. For that matter, the shortcut icon on the homescreen makes all the difference when it comes to user experience, as it makes it easier to remind the user to access the app. Not to mention the main features one can find on apps, like Bluetooth, geolocation, photos, videos, notifications, access to offline information and many more.

Clearly understanding the things mentioned above will help your company decide whether or not to create an app.

2. Commitment

Your company may have stablished a clear purpose on creating an app, but committing to use the app is something a lot harder than acessing a website, and, depending on your business area, the app will depend on a website for fetching data, as well as getting everyone to know your app.

The healthiest way for a website to gather commitment is throught organic SEO, content marketing or through payed methods, like Google or Facebook advertising.

When it comes to apps, users must really have the need for using the features provided on the app, otherwise it is very likely that the app will be downloaded, opened only once and never opened again. You can make use of payed ads but, unlike websites, there is still no effective way, on Google's search engine, of using organic SEO for apps.

Here is a short list of constant needs that can be found inside apps: checking bank statement/balance, sending messages, map routing, saving offline data, checklisting on an external environment.

3. Development

While we use frontend languages when building websites, we find ourselves facing a dilemma before starting to develop an app: whether to choose a hybrid framework (just a single kind of coding; easy maintenance) or developing the app using native languages (Java/Kotlin; Objective-C/Swift).

This can have, depending on the project's rhythm and features, a major impact on deadlines and ultimate quality, because if you choose to use natives languages it will be necessary to develop one version of the app for each of the major platforms we have today.

Suggestions regarding the choice between hybrid frameworks and native languages:

  • Hybrid frameworks: work better for features that do not require much of the device's hardware, such as saving offline data, displaying information, filling forms and common notifications;
  • Native languages: have a faster and more guaranteed support to updates and bug fixing. Useful for hardware interactions (Bluetooth, camera, GPS) and local processing.

4. Deploying

Website deploying is done on web servers, and the user acesses a URL to always find its latest version. On the other hand, when an app is created the company must deploy and upload it to app stores (like Google Play and App Store), which, in addition to having their own methods for approving/rejecting each version of your app, may not have its latest version downloaded by the user. This is why apps should always be tested extensively to avoid failures, as well as to have great planning regarding the evolution of all its features.

5. Updates

We can test our websites on many different browsers when we need to do some updates on the our code, and the only critical issue is having its latest version deployed on the server. But we can only test our apps on a restricted range of mobile devices, due to the huge amount of different models found today, not to mention the many different versions of operating systems, such as Android and iOS.

You can use tools like CrashLytics to identify and get rid of flaws on the development of your app, in order to track how everyone is using your app.

6. User ratings

While there is no such thing as users rating and evaluating your website, it is something very common about apps, and it has a huge impact on the reputation and satisfation rating of all apps, as well as reaching new users. On the best case scenario, your app is published on its respective store, and is always extensively tested and contains no flaws, thus avoiding frustration and negative ratings.

Conclusion

We introduced and commented important issues to keep in mind before starting to develop an app, and how it differs from building a website.