Mobile App vs. Web App: What’s the Difference?

In a world where everything happens digitally, businesses need to build a strong online presence.

The best way to do that is by developing web or mobile applications.

Most people believe that mobile and web apps are the same, but they’re not.

From the development method to the internal functionality, there are many differences between the two, and that’s what we’re here to discuss.Let’s take a deeper look into the differences between web and mobile apps so you can decide which option is better for your business

What Is a Mobile App?

A mobile application is software designed to deliver services to users on their mobile devices like smartphones or tablets.

These apps can perform a variety of functions, such as providing information, entertainment, or tools to help with tasks like shopping, banking, or fitness tracking.

You can download mobile applications from the App Store or Play Store, and once the app is installed, it can be used by the user on the go.

Some examples of mobile apps include:

  • Instagram
  • Duolingo
  • Adobe Lightroom
  • Spotify
  • Uber
  • Tinder

What Is a Web App?

Web applications are delivered over internet browsers like Google or Safari. Instead of downloading and installing it onto your device, you simply visit a website and use the app directly.

Web apps can do many of the same things as mobile apps, like providing information, entertainment, or tools to help with tasks. For example, you might use a web app for online shopping, social media, or email.

Sounds like just another website? Well, it’s not. Web apps and websites are different.

A website can be viewed, read, or listened to, but the user cannot manipulate it. However, web applications aren’t only viewable but also contain interactive elements. These include forms to fill out, buttons to click, and real-time updates without reloading the page.

Web apps offer more functionality and interactivity, catering to specific user needs and tasks.

Here are some examples of web apps:

  • Amazon
  • Facebook
  • Canva
  • Google Docs Editor
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

Comparison Between Mobile Apps vs. Web Apps

1.    Accessibility

Mobile apps are developed for specific operating systems, such as iOS or Android, and can only be downloaded through app stores. As a result, the accessibility of mobile apps is restricted to limited devices.

Web apps, on the other hand, can run on any device with an internet connection and web browser.

The interface of the web apps can adapt to any device you’re using them on, making them more flexible for the users. Users can simply access the app by entering its URL in a web browser, eliminating the need for download and installation steps.

2.    Development

Web apps are faster, easier, and cheaper to develop. This is because web apps are created using programming languages like HTML, CSS, or JavaScript, which are simpler to understand and utilize. Developers can use standard web development tools and frameworks, streamlining the development process.

Whereas mobile apps are built using specialized programming languages like Swift or Java, which are complicated to understand and take more time to master.

The development environments for iOS and Android are different which makes the development of mobile apps even more complex and costly.

1.    Performance

Web applications run on internet browser, so your internet speed plays a big role in their performance. So, the web application won’t work properly if the internet speed is slow or the user is offline.

In comparison, mobile apps tend to run faster and offer better overall performance than web apps. This is because these types of apps use specific codes optimized for a specific device.

Once the app is downloaded, most resources required to run it are stored locally on the device itself, reducing loading times.

2.    User Experience

Mobile apps usually offer a better user experience than web apps due to built-in device features that are available for the users.

For instance, mobile apps can use features like camera and GPS location to offer a more personalized experience. Mobile apps can also send push notifications to users and get them to re-engage.

Due to the dependency on the internet connection, web apps might not provide the best experience.

Certain features or images may vary on different browsers. Buttons and menu bar features may be challenging to access from mobile browsers. The resizing of the interface can also impact the look, feel, and functionality of the web application.

3.    Updates and Maintenance

Building an app is a continuous process. Whether it’s a mobile app or a web app, you need to keep updating and maintaining it to provide the best user experience.

Web apps are easier to update because the developers can fix all the issues centrally on the server, ensuring all users have access to the latest version instantly. The users won’t have to download individual updates on different devices.

On mobile apps, updates must meet the rigid standards of the operating systems your app runs on. Getting approval from the app stores could take a long time, so the updates won’t reach the users as quickly as you expect them to.

Additionally, the users have to download each update individually, which could seem like too much work to them.

1.    Marketing and Distribution

It’s easier to reach your target audience through mobile apps because they are marketed and distributed directly through App Stores.

You can use App Store Optimization (ASO) to optimize your mobile app listing, improving visibility and rankings in search results within the app stores, enhancing discoverability and attracting more downloads.

Meanwhile, web apps don’t have to be listed on any application store. This might seem easier as you can just skip the listing process, but it can impact the visibility of your app.

Web apps can only be marketed and distributed through online channels like search engines and social media, making your app invisible to billions of weekly app store visitors worldwide.

Final Thoughts

The choice between mobile app and web app is a simple one if you know what your business goals are and who your target audience is.

If your business objective is to improve visibility and engagement rates, a mobile app is the way to go. But if the goal is to broaden your business’s reach, then because of cross-platform accessibility, a web app is often the better choice.

Similarly, you must understand your user’s needs and behaviors to make the right choice.

If they are more likely to use mobile devices, investing in a mobile app can help meet their expectations. But if the audience uses laptop or desktop to access content, a web app provides the flexibility and accessibility needed to cater to their needs effectively.

Take the time to understand your users, their needs, and your business goals, and you’ll be well on your way to taking the best step for your company.

If you need an app development partner, reach out to the experts at Design Genious. Whether you choose Android or IOS app development, our knowledge and expertise can help you get the results you want to see.

Your app idea deserves to make it to the top of the App Store or Play Store, and we can make it happen for you.

Design Genious

Design Genious

The Design Genious blogging team comprises seasoned writers, proofreaders, and editors. We delve deep into the latest industry insights, trends, and developments to write research-backed and well-rounded articles. Our aim is to provide you with information that’s not only interesting to read but also adds to your knowledge.