Mobile App and Web Development Trends
Trends come and go but should you strike when they’re piping hot?
This year responsive web design has taken center stage as the buzzword in the web design and mobile worlds, and it’s no surprise as more people have taken to using multiple platforms in accessing the web. Purchase and use of different devices including smartphones, tablets, and even e-reading platforms like the Kindle or Nook have jumped.
Where people used to have various gizmos for particular uses, they now see the ease and value of integration, using smartphones to surf the web and listen to music, for instance. According to Monetate’s 2013 Q1 Ecommerce Quarterly, website traffic from tablets and smartphones has almost doubled compared to last year.
Web access and Internet use are unlikely to stop or decline anytime soon, and the use of different devices to access the Internet further cements the importance people, particularly companies and professionals should be given to tablets and smartphones in the market. Responsive web design, mobilized sites, and mobile applications cater to the growing number of users and potential audience and/or customers who choose mobile over a desktop or laptop.
Responsive Web Design
Fluid is the keyword for responsive web design with website elements easily rearranging themselves to better suit the platform they’re viewed on. This translates to flexible grids in web page design, resizable images during zoom in or out, and media queries for adapting to a device’s physical traits (such as horizontal resolution), according to Ethan Marcotte. In responsive media, the fluid grid layout allows content including images and text to reorganize itself according to browser size. Oftentimes, users don’t see or need a horizontal scroll bar. Not only will image content change positions, they can also change the size, adjusting to better suit the layout and the browser size.
Some websites have two operating versions, one designed for desktop view and another optimized for mobile use, particularly on smartphone platforms. The latter sometimes has a different URL such as “mobi.ASDFGHJK.com” or “m.ASDFGHJK.com”.
Just as classic websites are great as portals for information display and as tools for data mining, a mobilized website fulfills the goal of content display for smartphone and tablet users. It is especially ideal for showing static information on a user’s mobile device, much in the same way and for the same reason, someone browses “classic” websites – websites designed to be viewed on a desktop or laptop. Although the mobilized version may look similar to the desktop site, it will have a different code to enhance and better suit the mobile user experience.
From a backend perspective, developing a mobile-friendly site that is all-embracing (when it comes to operating on different devices) can prove to be time-consuming and meticulous. Since it may be impossible to design for all devices, you are effectively designing for particular smartphone and tablet models, usually the most popular ones.
An app is designed for a specific function and does away with the rest of the information otherwise available on a website. While websites – mobilized or otherwise – serve up content, a mobile app optimizes content by taking context into account. The app user’s context – his or her location, for instance – works to better serve the user by presenting more personalized content. Oftentimes, mobile users are searching for information that they have a fairly immediate need for such as flight arrival time or driving directions.
Unlike a mobilized site, mobile apps can be accessed without an Internet connection but may still require it to perform some tasks.
If you’re assessing responsive web design as an option, consider if you have any plans on changing the site, either in its entirety or just some parts. Also, take into account if you regularly publish or update content and if you’ll be focusing more on information display or functionality.
As emphasized earlier, responsive web design and mobilized websites are ideal for showing static content with the former, able to offer more extensive services. Websites that incorporate responsive web design, as viewed on a classic platform can achieve the same goals as websites that don’t use this design. Among these goals is lead generation.
A mobilized website accomplishes this goal as well by offering mobile visitors who stumble across your site a great user experience. This could result in new business leads.
However, if you’re aiming for providing specific service or productivity, an app would be a wiser choice. It becomes even more so when you want people to regularly use a service you’re offering, and when this needs interaction.
Responsive Web Design VS Mobilized Sites VS Mobile Apps
At the end of the day, deciding which format to go with depends on your purpose and the resources you have available. Here at Staffing and Leasing, our web developers and mobile app developers can readily help you as part of your team in building on the best possible platform.