The development of mobile technologies is advancing every year as well as the number of users who do everything on a mobile phone is growing. It is increasingly important for companies to "be mobile". For example, a driver assistance provider will appreciate if a mobile application is available offline, while vendors usually need an available ordering system without the need for installation. What are the other pros and cons of mobile applications compared to web applications?
If someone expects a clear verdict that will apply across all types of applications, they will be disappointed. The decision whether to go for development of a web or mobile application deserves deeper reflection.
In any case, the recent statistics, which confirm the growing mobile trend, prove that you should have at least one of these solutions. In 2019, there were 204 billion downloads of mobile applications worldwide, while in 2016 "only" 140 billion. In addition, most forecasts expect further significant growth in the future.
However, the demographics of target groups are slightly different in each field or even in different companies from the same field, so the share of mobile accesses in your country may be lower or much higher. If you are one of the companies whose customers solve everything on a computer, consider whether you can take advantage of the mobile solution at all.
Pros of mobile apps
Utilize the smartphone performance
Mobile applications, unlike web ones, use the full potential of smartphone performance. As a result, they work faster and work with the phone's built-in features, such as positioning, push notifications, a microphone, or a camera.
On the other hand, it is necessary to take into account the ever-increasing demands of users for application performance. Up to 43% of users are dissatisfied when they have to wait for the application to load for more than 3 seconds.
Offline mode support
Many mobile applications are developed mainly because, unlike web applications, they can be used offline. If the mobile application is developed with offline support, you can still access the application's content and functions even without an Internet connection (e.g. the eWay-CRM Mobile application synchronizes all data after reconnecting to the Internet).
Accessibility in Google Play and App Store
Mobile applications are very popular. Customers download them from Google Play and App Store, which they can access, for example, through a link from your website. However, they often discover new applications through these distribution services. This way you can reach new customers.
Cons of mobile apps
It has to be installed
Users may see the need to install the application as a disadvantage. Too many installed applications consume CPU performance and RAM capacity, slowing down the smartphone performance. So, it depends on whether the user who decides to clean their phone will consider your application necessary. And the user will probably think about the same question before installing it.
Developing mobile applications is often more expensive and time consuming than developing web applications. The mobile application needs to be developed for Android and for iOS separately (unless you have a reason to be available on only one of these platforms).
Although there are tools like Xamarin or Apache Cordova that allow you to "write a single code and create an application for both iOS and Android", these technologies are not suitable for larger and complex applications.
Necessity of updates
Your effort should not end with the release of the mobile application. Due to increasing user demands, compatibility with devices and for security reasons, it is necessary to provide regular updates. And, of course, for iOS and Android separately.
Web applications simply have a clear maintenance advantage in terms of automatic updates. The user does not have to worry about them at all.
How to decide? Take on the role of a customer
If your scales have not yet swayed in either direction, it should be crucial for you to answer the question of whether the mobile application will really bring added value to your customers compared to the web application. In other words, whether the advantages of a mobile application outweigh its disadvantages. Let's try to look at an example of using both mobile and web applications.
Imagine the first scenario in which a sales rep who travels a lot is in the lead role. In this case, they will install the eWay-CRM Mobile application, as the management of contacts and companies and communication is very intensive in this case, and they will often use the offline mode and GPS navigation on the road. If you also find a use of offline mode and phone functions for a model user of your future application and you are interested in the possibility of promotion through Google Play and App Store, the mobile application will be the solution for you.
If you do not use offline mode, GPS, camera or if the application does not necessarily need to be promoted in Google Play and App Store environment, a responsive web application such as eWay-CRM Web will be a suitable solution. Especially when you know that use on a PC will be at least as common as on a mobile phone. The eWay-CRM Web application can be used by the mentioned sales rep, for example, on the road, where they do not have a business smartphone or PC with them. You do not have to install the web application and therefore log in to the application from any device. This is an option that mobile applications do not offer, of course.
When making a decision it is simply ideal to take on the role of a customer. Imagine who, where, when and how will use your application and find out which solution is right for you.