(This is part 3 of a 12 part series. Read Part 2.)
With the world turning into one huge digital platform, connecting people with just a click of a button, it is essential that every emerging business effectively serve its customers on the Internet. But the question is—which Internet application should your startup opt for?
For many people, everything they find on the Internet is a “website.” However, what most do not understand is that many of the things they are browsing are not sites at all. For them, the technical terms don’t matter. But they do matter to your business when you try to hire a web developer and a web designer, or even contact a web development agency. You’ll need to make them understand what you need in order to focus on your business requirements.
In addition, to determine which Internet application best fits your business and its consumers, it is vital for you to understand the different options various Internet applications have to offer. For example, if you want to develop software for long-term use, something you can build upon and improve over time, would a website or a web app be best for you? Then again, is a mobile app or a PWA the better option? To answer these questions, you need to consider the pros and cons of the choices available to you.
Before we look at whether a Web Application or a Website Mobile Application would be the best fit for your business, let’s take a looklook at each.
A Web App is accessed just like any other website through your Internet browser and will be interactive. On the other hand, a simple website is a stagnant Internet page that has few functions or operations—a more or less simple and user-friendly way to present the consumers with key information about the business. In most situations users can only read or listen to the information that the website is providing. Examples of a typical website are news sites, a blog portal, or tastemade.com, where you can view recipes.
It is crucial to understand that a website does not allow any real interaction with the user. For instance, in the case of news websites, the user can only choose which news to read. The readers are not allowed to edit articles or add any information to the website. A website can be a good platform to introduce your MVP but it will not be interactive.
On the other hand, a Web App allows users to contribute and edit data according to their own needs by interacting with the server. Such software programs tend to have a concrete communication system with the server and send numerous notifications to it. For an image of a web app, considerFor instance, think of Facebook, where users can connect, communicate and share information.
The development of a web app requires more time, more sophisticated tools, and more thorough knowledge than does the development of a simple web site. To construct a user-friendly interface, the front-end part of the web app is created using AngularJS or ReactJS frameworks. For the back-end part, usually Node.JS, .Net or PHP are used. However, it is important to bear in mind that there are other technologies for the development of front-end and back-end interfaces, but those mentioned above are used most frequently due to their speed and ability to process functions on a high level.
Another option is Bubble.is, a no code platform that is perfect for developing and delivering MVPs. Bubble provides a powerful application framework that easily allows you to build your application with the minimum amount of complexity.
Since you are probably looking for a cost-effective option, it is obvious that a fully developed web app will cost more than a simple static web page or blog. But be aware of the needs of your start-upstart up. If your business will depend on an interactive digital platform project and if you have plans to expand and introduce more features in the future, hire a professional team that can manage those complex business needs. Also, ensure that your web app or website is mobile friendly. Google apparently lowers the rate of websites and web apps that are not mobile friendly.
A native mobile application is created expressly for a mobile device like a smart phone or tablet computer. These are downloaded and installed through an App store and offer a variety of functions, including GPS, a camera, contacts and much, much more. Mobile applications are therefore designed to live and run on the device itself. Some classic examples of mobile apps include Google Maps, Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook Messenger.
Since mobile apps are platform specific, they need to be launched on different platforms to generate more consumers for your business. This means initially building everything from scratch in regards to design and development. Consequently, mobile apps are more expensive but much faster and more advanced in terms of features than a web app.
Mobile apps are developed by using specific languages and Integrated Development Environments (IDE), which vary from platform to platform. Apple devices function on the iOS software system, so mobile apps for Apple are built using software such as Objective-C and the XCode IDE, while mobile apps for Android users are created in Java and often use Android Studio or Eclipse IDE. Like Apple, Google also provides its own development tools, interface elements and software development kits, which can be used by web developers to build mobile apps.
To highlight the difference between a mobile app and a web app, let’s compare the Yelp mobile app to the Yelp.com web app. If you download the Yelp app on your phone and then go to Yelp.com through your Internet browser, you’ll find the two images shown below. Notice that the web app has been designed to give the user a feel of a mobile app by turning the search browser bar red.
A major difference between the two is that web apps require customers to be online, while the specific features of a mobile app can be designed to work offline. In addition, web apps do not need updates, but mobile apps require users to regularly download new updates.
PWA (PROGRESSIVE WEB APP)
As you develop your own start-upstart up, your ideas will evolve into apps and websites to solve various emerging issues. As the CEO of IBM said, “The only way you survive is you continuously transform into something else. It’s this idea of continuous transformation that makes you an innovation company.”
A Progressive Web App is said to be the best of both worlds—a web app and a mobile app. You can’t ask your users to engage on a single platform, website or app. Instead you must offer new experiences to your customer that is up-to date with the changing trends.
A PWA loads quickly, even on poor network connections, sends push notifications to re-engage your customers, does not need to be installed or downloaded, provides a full screen app-like experience and is highly responsive.
If you’re launching a startup you need to consider many things—software, a website, a mobile app and, above all, the cost of deploying all this into your business development plan. The advantage of a PWA is that it integrates all the features of web apps and mobile apps, takes less time to develop, less time to install, and offers cost effective maintenance.
Another method of software delivery, one that permits data to be accessed from any device with an Internet connection, is SaaS (Software-as-a-Service), a web-based model that helps businesses host and maintain their servers, data and code an application. An advantage of SaaS is that it is cost effective. Your business doesn’t have to invest in expensive hardware to host your software—the SaaS vendor can do it for you. In addition, you don’t have to lose yourself in the complexities of maintaining your software and user base.
SaaS are also usually referred to as web-based software, on-demand software, or hosted software due to its running application on the SaaS provider’s servers. The provider also manages issues like security, responsiveness and performance. Although the concept of SaaS dates back to the 1960s, it has now emerged as an IT solution for many businesses because of its affordability and the familiarity of its traditional web browser-like user interface.
Keeping all of this in mind, choose the best option for your company by analyzing
- Level of customer interaction you need on your platform.
- Security issues, particularly if your portal involves various passwords, banking data or personal credentials
- Certificates, protocols and various licensing options available to you.
In addition to these options, it is also possible to build a completely custom application to meet the unique needs of your start-upstart up. I can help you decide which is best for you. Contact me at [email protected] and lets discuss your options.to get started now.
Do you have apps you want to build? Check our courses to learn more about building your app.