Whats the difference between a
Responsive Website and a Mobile App?
Responsive websites and Mobile Apps
A “responsive website” is a normal website, but one that is built with modern website software tools to determine what kind of device is requesting the site to display content. It then can layout the requested site content designed just for that device. A responsive website will run on both a computer and a mobile device, assuming you have a browser “app” installed on the mobile device.
An “app” is not a website, though it may link to one. It is a special program platform, similar to a website but with significant differences, and designed to run on mobile devices only. Mobile devices may use an app even if they are not connected to the internet at that time. In general each mobile device type (iPhone, Droid, Blackberry, etc.) requires a different development platform to make and distribute apps and each platform requires a separate App Store submission process.
Reasons to build an “app”:
- Your application needs access to one or more native features on their mobile device (such as the camera, GPS system, accelerometer, and so on).
- You want the application’s icon to appear on the home screen of the mobile device.
- Your application needs to be available offline.
- You want to monetize your application by making it available for purchase in an app store or market.
Reasons to build a “responsive” website:
- You want your application to be viewed on both desktop computers and mobile devices
- You do not want to go through the separate design and App Store submission process for each mobile device.
- Some device browsers have better functionality than the app viewers.
You might want to have both types of displays to fit the needs of your target markets.
Responsive Web Design (RWD) creates sites that provide an optimal viewing experience with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones and pads.
In 2016 mobile usage overtook desktop browsing in the race for website usage. It makes sense then to address the larger market first. In 2018 there will be more functionality that fully utilize mobile features such as geolocation, voice search, and natural language processing, driving mobile even more.
Another “Mobile First” feature is the “single page website” design. This is a site designed to let the user slide the page with their thumb or finger up and down, revealing the important contents of the site before having to find a menu.
In 2017, designers and developers began creating clean and simple websites for better mobile performance. Image-heavy websites are slow to load and are not “Mobile First”. Customers are using their mobile devices more than their desktops to do their work. Mobile usage is passing desktop usage for another reason – new technologies! Websites in 2018 will feature interactive animations, chatbots, augmented reality and more. Simplicity is friendlier to mobile.
Another way to achieve simple clean layout is to use creativity on typography. Typography is the visual component of the written word which includes fonts, and more.
Websites with text-based designs quickly communicate messages to users and also lend themselves well to mobile. In 2018, expect to see lots of bold headers and the use of text links instead of buttons.
Greater Use of Negative Space
White space is nothing new, but in 2017 developers found greater and greater uses of negative space.
Particularly on mobile, speedy, light-weight pages are pivotal. Everything on the page is there for one purpose: Increase conversions. Negative space draws attention directly to the engagement or conversion point — no distractions.