Going Mobile: Mobile Websites vs. Mobile Apps


Mobile Optimization

The goal of mobile optimization is to work seamlessly across a variety of mobile platforms and browsers. Mobile optimization is bound to help a restaurant gain a more loyal customer base. The majority of people today have smartphones and use their phones frequently throughout the day. Having a website or mobile application that is meant for the size of a smartphone adds convenience and ease to the customers life. This is a major factor that customer tend to look for. Generally, optimizing websites for mobile requires one of two main methods: using a Dedicated Mobile Site, or using a Responsive Website Design (RWD). While both methods have an optimization strategy in mind, and the associated benefits and weaknesses, they are chiefly different.

Dedicated Mobile Site is essentially a condensed version of the existing site, which highlights the most popular pages with simpler, user-friendly navigation, thereby eliminating the need for tedious resizing, panning, and scrolling. However, since a Dedicated Mobile Site is separate from the original site, it requires separate maintenance from the original site. Therefore, this method tends to be cheaper, but also more time consuming.

Conversely, a Responsive Website Design (RWD) is one website that automatically adjusts to any device, screen size or resolution, or orientation. While this method tends to be more popular, despite also being more expensive, its maintenance also tends to be less time consuming.

Mobile Apps

The alternate route to explore regarding going mobile is the creation and use of mobile apps.  Apps have been proven to be easier to use and locate for those who are frequent mobile phone users.Apps are actual applications that are downloaded and installed on a mobile device, rather than being rendered within a browser. Apps meant for a mobile device can come in many ways, through a native app, a web-based app or a hybrid of the two applications. Native Apps have installation-based accessibility, which allows users to visit device-specific portals such as Apple’s App Store and Android Market in order to search and download apps for their given operating system.

Web-based Apps are the ones with browser-based accessibility, such that they require Internet connection. These apps are more difficult for customers to discover and buy, due to lack of a central app store. However, there is also approval process necessary from stores like Apple or Google unless its developers seek “hybrid app” capabilities. Hybrid Apps are Web-based Apps “wrapped” in native code and available on native apps stores.

Which Is Better—An App or a Mobile Website?

Both certainly have their benefits, yet seem to serve different, yet not totally opposing, purposes. Unfortunately, the appropriate answer to that question depends on the desired end goals of your restaurant. If interactivity, regular usage and offline compatibility are your main goals, then an app would probably suit your preferences.

Yet, if simply offering mobile content to the widest possible audience is at the forefront. Offering mobile access to your customers is sure to help improve the experience they have.

Posted in Marketing Tips, Mobile Marketing, New Restaurant Technology, New Technology

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