In a previous blog post (posted as a comment on a fellow classmate’s post), I discussed my experience with using mobile devices and my preference of having an app experience over responsive design. In this post, I explained that I initially thought that having a responsive design would be my preference, but after taking some time to reflect on my mobile usage, I always choose the App experience. I would like to take a deeper dive into this, because I find it interesting to discuss as it seems that there is quite a debate on which option is the more preferable option. Now, from my own viewpoint and from knowing how smartphone users typically operate my first guess would be App experience would be the majority of user’s preferences. So, I constructed a poll at work using a Slack channel with the poll titled “which do you prefer” “App experience or Responsive Design” (along with some unbiased context to the question).
The results surprised me (n=23) with there being nearly a 50/50 split!
According to Daniel Rowles, “If you don’t have a mobile-optimized website, forget about getting an app built and get your site fixed first” (Rowles, D). I was critical of this position as I was under the impression that App experience would greatly trump responsive design in most scenarios. Business Insider explains that mobile users are using the Web less and less as time goes on. Let’s take a look at the below graph to look at both the disparity of Apps to Web usage, as well as the increase over just one year:
The disparity represented here between Apps and Mobile Web, only goes further to support my initial hypothesis that a mobile App would be the common preference. However, according to Daniel Rowles it should be the other way around, and according to my data that I gathered the preference is split. So, which is it? Which should a company place their resources in first if they are in the development process? Does it matter?
I have concluded that this decision is heavily dependent on the user base. To say that 86% of time spent using mobile apps is too general of a statement. I went around to some of those that took the poll that I posted on Slack and I received a variety of different reasons on why they preferred one or the other. That being said, when one is in the development phase I suggest really knowing who the target consumer is, what their intentions and needs are and how they interact with their mobile devices. Doing this will allow for greater knowledge about where to dedicated the resources. This knowledge will lead to the best decision for that company, leading to happier end users.
What are your thoughts on this?
Are you surprised from the results of the poll?
Rowles, Daniel. Mobile Marketing: How Mobile Technology is Revolutionizing Marketing, Communications and Advertising (p. 103). Kogan Page. Kindle Edition.