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Mobile Sites, Mobile Apps, and Mobile Display of PC / Mac Websites

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The Difference between Mobile Websites, Mobile Apps, and Mobile Display of PC / Mac Websites

Mobile SitesFor Web development, there is a big difference between:

  • A website built specifically for mobile devices
  • A website built for PC / Mac display that you want to display on mobile devices
  • Mobile apps

Mobile Websites

When you’re building a website for viewing on a mobile device, you have to forget a lot of what you know about PC or Mac-based web development. For instance –

  • On a mobile device, screens are small. Because of that, you don’t want to display global navigation on every page as you would on a traditional site. For mobile devices, keep navigation links to a minimum.
  • Keep content to a minimum. Communicate only the most essential information.
  • Mobile device users are mainly interested in doing something. Strip away content that are research oriented, such as “About” and “Company History” pages.
  • Make sure every page has a “Back” button at the bottom, since mobile browsers typically don’t display one.
  • Page layouts that look great on a computer monitor frequently look hideous on a mobile screen. For a mobile friendly site, you generally need to design from scratch.

Why you want a mobile website. Smart phone usage in the U.S. is expanding exponentially. Companies with a user-friendly mobile Web presence will capture more leads and make more sales than ones without.

Tweaking PC / Mac Websites for Mobile Display

It’s not possible to “optimize” a traditional website for mobile display. Canned programs and plugins are available to strip out formatting for a cleaner mobile display (I use one on my WordPress blog), but it’s a feeble workaround if your firm seeks a strong mobile Web presence. For greater enhancements, our design and programming teams can go more in depth to give traditional sites a credible mobile user experience.

Why you want to tweak your website. Half a loaf is better than none: a mediocre mobile site can still capture leads, whereas a useless site will hurt your brand outright. If you’re not sure what your exposure is – see what your competitors are doing.

Mobile Apps

Mobile apps aren’t websites at all – they are a completely different animal.  Here’s the Webopedia definition of mobile application:

“Also called mobile apps, it is a term used to describe Internet applications that run on smartphones and other mobile devices. Mobile applications usually help users by connecting them to Internet services more commonly accessed on desktop or notebook computers, or help them by making it easier to use the Internet on their portable devices. A mobile app may be a mobile Web site bookmarking utility, a mobile-based instant messaging client, Gmail for mobile, and many other applications.”

Games are mobile apps that have been around for ages.  Today, there are countless hundreds of thousands of mobile apps. Apple categorizes its Web apps as follows: Calculate, Entertainment, Games, News, Productivity, Search Tools, Social Networking, Sports, Travel, Utilities, Weather.

Why you want to create a mobile app. A useful mobile app can do wonders for your business. It promotes brand awareness, ties customers in to your product or service, and can even generate direct revenue.

Not sure what direction you want to go? Contact us to discuss your ideas.

Learn more about our Web development services.