Web App or Mobile App: How to Choose


hand holding smart phone with apple, droid, chrome and safari icons battling

“We need an app.” We hear it a lot and for good reason. Today’s users are using mobile more than ever, but many websites just haven’t caught up. So companies turn to application development. What they don’t always know is that there are two routes they can take: a web app or a mobile app. Which one you choose will depend on the experience you want to provide and how you plan to use the app long-term. Let’s take a look.

Who needs an app?  

Great question. When smartphones first launched, it seemed like everyone wanted an app. Now over 10 years later, we’re seeing that not everyone really needs one. In general, apps are well-suited for conveying large amounts of data or providing users with a very specific experience. Some good uses for apps include: 

  • Knowledge centers
  • Loyalty programs
  • Banking & finance 
  • eCommerce

What’s the difference between mobile apps and web apps? 

Mobile apps are built specifically for a mobile platform, like iOS and Android. These are the apps you download from the app store, like weather apps and social media apps. They’re stored directly on your phone and are able to integrate more tightly with the operating system. 

Web apps, however, are accessed via the internet — similar to visiting a website. They use responsive design to adapt to a variety of screen sizes. It may look similar to a mobile app, but everything is happening online, not on your device. 

So, which should I pick? 

That depends on a few factors. You should never rush into a mobile or web app development because you simply wanted one over the other. App development is a major technology initiative and your organization should spend time evaluating which route is best for you. Here are some basic pros and cons for both types. 


Mobile App Pros

  • Finer control over the app’s UI/UX
  • More security options and capabilities
  • Ability to integrate into phone’s contacts, calendars and other apps


Mobile App Cons

  • Require approval by app store
  • Updates and patches must be deployed through the app store
  • Differing requirements between iOS and Android apps


Web App Pros

  • Require no download from the user
  • May be updated at any time 
  • Work on any web-enabled device, regardless of operating system


Web App Cons

  • Require an internet connection
  • Less ability to customize the UI/UX
  • Less ability to integrate into the mobile device 


Ask Us About Apps

Still think you need an app? Great. Let’s talk about it. Schedule a meeting with our Technology team and we’ll get the ball rolling. We’ll help you build a user-driven experience that fits your goals and drives lasting value to your brand.