Should I Build an App or a Website?

Should I Build an App or a Website?

This is a common question when discussing a new digital design project, especially in the aftermath of a Pokémon Augmented Reality (AR) app frenzy. However, whilst app development may be the newer kid on the block it’s not a replacement for your website. Both web and app serve different purposes and understanding the purpose of what you’re trying to achieve will help you make the right decision.

Build it and they will come

A website is a shop front in digital land, so this is pretty straight forward. Are you looking to market or sell your services and products to prospective customers? If you are, then you need a website developed with with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) in mind to ensure your customers see you above the competition in search results. Just look at your own behaviour. What do you do when you’re looking for a new jacket or searching for that next trip away?

Next, throw in a beautiful, easy-to-use web design with clear call to actions and those customers won’t forget how easy it was to deal with you over your competition in future searches.

In the hands of Gods

In recent years mobile technology has come leaps and bounds. Everyone is busier and on the move which is where apps really deliver their best value. Are you looking to provide an area where your customer can manage and track information about themselves or their activities? Even better, allow it to be used when there isn’t an internet connection so usage is not interrupted.

Not only is navigating an app quicker than loading a web page, you can use the devices Operating System (OS) to unlock the device’s many features as a key product benefit. And this is really the tipping point. A native app design can connect the user to functionality within the OS allowing them to access all of the great features in a mobile device like the camera and GPS, including access to other apps on the device like calendars.

As an example, the University of Canberra App aggregates services from different providers along with geolocation for maps, giving students a single point of entry to manage everything they need to more easily and quicker. These features deliver benefits to students on the move with and without data, an experience that couldn’t be delivered as well on a website.

Show me the money

While the experience you wish to create should be the primary focus, the budget and technology set aside for the project is always an important consideration before starting your project. Native app development is more expensive than website development because in order to get into the hands of most people, you need to build an app for every mobile OS in use. Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android dominate the OS market while the Windows OS, although limited in usage, tend to have more passionate (and vocal) users!

As a budget management strategy, you could look at the demographic you are targeting and first build the OS that is most commonly used by that group. Once you start to see results, you can go on to develop the app in other operating systems. Alternatively, you can build a hybrid app. This uses web readable code so it can be accessed by any device but it also has limited integration with those valuable device and OS features.

When looking at the website vs app decision for your next project, consider the experience you wish to create first, along with the overall business purpose. If you decide a website is right for you, make sure an SEO strategy is developed upfront so you know how you’re going to build valuable traffic up overtime. If you indeed choose to build an app, make best use of device and operating system features within the available budget to ensure maximum value.

If you’re still not sure which way to go, get in touch with Subz Designs, a leading digital design and development agency serving Canberra and the wider ACT area. Their expertise in this area will help you to identify the right way forward.