Even those well versed in the mobile space may sometimes experience confusion with mobile terms and definitions. When developing a mobile strategy most B2B marketers end up at the mobile apps vs. mobile websites impasse. There are a few different types of mobile websites, and a few ways to approach mobile applications. In this post, we’ll take a look at the options available and clarify what each term is.
Mobile websites are versions of your website that are optimized for mobile as opposed to the desktop. The mobile website will be the first thing a prospect will see when researching an organization. It’s important to make a good first impression, and have all the quick reference information prospects will expect when exploring a mobile website.
In most cases, people will reach a mobile website by organic search or direct URL in their mobile browser, or through email campaigns. Without a mobile website, visitors are left with the difficult task of trying to navigate a desktop website on a small mobile device. This becomes a challenging task, as visitors have to zoom, pinch and scroll to find what they’re looking for – inadvertently clicking on links along the way. Without this first step of a mobile website, visitors immediatly have a poor impression of the brand, making it harder to convert them into leads.
Your mobile website doesn’t have to be a carbon copy of your desktop website. Users are looking for quick reference information on mobile sites. Deeper engagement comes through better user experiences in mobile applications.
Tablet websites are versions of your website that are optimized for tablet devices as opposed to smartphones and the desktop. The main difference between tablet websites and mobile websites is that tablets allow for a longer, more in-depth interactions. Mobile websites are viewed on the go, and quickly. Due to the size, tablet users are likely to spend more time on a tablet website, and may do so while sitting on their couch after work, or even at night in bed. Tablet websites also allow for more content due to the size – large content pieces are much easier to read on tablet websites than mobile websites.
It’s important to note that tablet websites should be used along side mobile websites. If you develop a tablet website, you should already have a mobile website, and vice versa.
Much like tablet websites, responsive web design (RWD) is a recent addition to the mobile mix. Responsive web design allows for a website to be designed for all devices (including PCs). These sites automatically change the dimensions of the website depending on the screen size of the device. This is the next evolution in mobile web.
You should know about… HTML5
HTML5 is the newest revision of the HTML language we’ve been using since 1997 and is still under development. In a nutshell, HTML4 did not encapsulate a lot of technology that we rely on today like video integration, audio and animation, which HTML5 has improved upon. In regards to mobile, HTML5 enables developers to take control of touch interfaces much easier. The goal is to eventually allows users to have the same experience no matter what device they’re on.
Native Mobile Applications
Native mobile applications are designed to use the full functionality of the particular operating system that the app is running on. Each operating system (iOS, Blackberry OS, Android OS) requires a different language that the apps need to be written in. An app designed for an iPhone will not seamlessly translate to a Blackberry. Successful mobile strategies are always cross-platform, meaning in-house developers, or a service provider that develops apps, needs to be able to meet the needs of all platforms. Native mobile applications have user interfaces designed to be used by users of that particular device.
Native mobile applications are the most common type of applications that you’ll find in the marketplace.
Templated Native Applications
Some service providers have built a backend content management system (CMS) that builds and manages applications. The same way WordPress makes creating templated websites easy for users, these templated native applications can reduce costs of getting into the mobile space.
Templates are designed off of industry best practices and each application is fully customizable depending on where platform limitations may lie for each specific device.
Shell applications are a hybrid of HTML5 technology and native applications. Native application code is used to design the tabs and shell of the application while actual content being displayed in the app is arranged via HTML5. These applications may have different shells, but their design is essentially the same across all devices.
We hope this helps clarify a few important mobile concepts – If you would like more info, please download our free Mobile Starter Guide below!