When weighing the pros and cons of choosing a responsive website design vs. a native app, you have to consider the experience that your users are interested in. Unless there are many actions and transactions that your users need access to, you might choose a responsive design that compliments and simplifies your website for smaller screens. All in all, choosing responsive or mobile app comes down to the budget and goals of the business.
Essentially, you have three choices. You can have a native app, a hybrid app or a responsive website. According to Jessica Zollman of The Interaction Design Foundation, “With the average user already using up to 30 apps a month and with more than 250,000 apps being released a year, there may come a point of overload from a user’s perspective. At that point, it is possible that if there are enough well designed mobile websites, that users will move away from apps and back to browsing and individual sites to provide their online experience. Then, apps might just become “launchers” of mobile websites. (Zollman)”
Applications are meant to run quickly and efficiently for users. Subsequently, the goal is to have less performance issues and mobile designed apps target that platform. Over 86% of our time as mobile users is spent on native applications and it’s worth noting that apps offer more functionality such as geolocation and geofencing, which provides a more personalized experience based on the device’s GPS data. Native apps are able to take advantage of server-side logic, therefore they are able to minimize the amount of data that is sent to and from the server which overall saves time and is more efficient. “Mobile users want to find things quickly – simply placing a responsively-designed website inside a shell application does little to improve on a desktop experience; and furthermore results in poor performance because websites can’t optimize data to quickly display information the way that apps can,” said Andrew Yu, founder and CTO of Modo Labs, Inc.