Gina muses on the difference between mobile apps and responsive websites, and concludes that it's a bit like grocery shopping...
You may have gathered from my initial blog that technical stuff doesn’t come easy to me; I appreciate words of no more than 2 syllables, and I like pictures, lots of pictures to explain things. So here goes.
If you go to the bakery what do you expect to get?
Bread, cake, pasties, sausage rolls?
The primary task of a bakery is to provide you with this type of stuff. . . not shampoo, dog food or wine. If you want these other things you can go to a supermarket, and get your bakery goodies there too.
As I see it this is how a mobile app might differ from a responsive website.
Apps have a primary function . . . they provide you with bread. Then they may also provide you with a few related secondary functions (cake and sausage rolls), but will always remind you that bread is what the app is all about.
A website is more like your supermarket. It will provide you with a plethora of information, images and functions. Of course, a website might be about a specific subject, but it has the scope to provide so much more information.
Take for instance the Powrmatic website created by our team. This site offers information on all the heating and ventilation products available from Powrmatic, along with information booklets, a history of the company, and other useful information.
Their app [currently in development by morphsites] however, is a heating load calculator, which allows you to load the details of an area to be heated, and it then calculates the size of heater required.
Can you see the difference?
“But”, you say . . .”it’s cool to have a app, that’s what everyone wants to accompany their website!”
Of course its cool. . . . we make apps as well . . . and we’re cool . . . aren’t we?
Yet, if you don't specifically need an app, there is a much more effective way to target mobile users, and I’ve just been reading about it . . . Responsive Websites.
I must admit I zoned out of the really technical bits, but in essence it’s a new method of web design using fluid grids, layouts, images, and CSS3 media queries. This means that as you, the user, switch from using your desktop to your mobile device, the website automatically switches to accommodate for the change in screen size, resolution etc.
This website is a responsive site - try it now. If you make your browser window narrower, the web design compensates, so that nothing is cut off or squashed.
As so many new devices become available, this method of design makes life a lot easier, because it allows users to access your website on an iPhone, tablet or desktop without losing anything – without the need for an app.
So, are you after Greggs or Asda?