Smartphones have changed the way we access information. Gone are the days when consumers had to rely on desktop computers to explore a website. Now, we can get all the information we want just by touching the screen, and you can find everything you need to know about a brand in no time.
With over 57% of customers not recommending a business based on their website experience alone, it’s important to make sure your website is intuitive, effective, and affordable.
If your company already has a website but wants to improve it for people who use their phones, you can turn it into an app for Android or iOS. This way, your customers can use a special app that’s made just for their phones. It’s beneficial if your website isn’t great on phones or tablets. You can give mobile users a different app that works better for them.
In this article, we will share some tips on how to convert a website into a mobile app, as well as discuss the key principles and practices that can help make your app successful.
Why do you need a mobile app?
Mobile apps offer numerous benefits for both customers and businesses, which is why almost a third of small businesses already have one. Here are a few reasons why you might want to convert your website into a mobile app:
- Ease of Access. Once a user installs an app, it’s much easier for them to open and engage with it compared to opening a website in a separate browser app. Having fewer barriers between the user and your content is always a good thing. Studies show that mobile users spend 83% of their time in apps, which is probably because apps are conveniently accessible right from the home screen.
- Mobile-Friendly Interface. If your website isn’t optimised for mobile devices, it can be frustrating for users. Instead of starting from scratch with a website redesign or struggling to fix mobile issues, creating a mobile app for your website can provide a user-friendly mobile experience while keeping your desktop version intact.
- Push Notifications. One of the major advantages of mobile apps is the ability to send push notifications to users. You can proactively notify customers about sales, offers, new content, and more, even if they haven’t opened the app. These notifications appear directly on the user’s locked or home screen, ensuring they see your messages promptly.
- Search Engine Optimisation. Search engines like Google prioritise mobile-friendly content, and having a mobile app can help your website rank higher in search results. When people search for your brand or products on their mobile devices, having a mobile app increases their chances of finding the information they need.
- Offline Mode. Unlike websites that require an internet connection, mobile apps can work offline, ensuring they are always accessible, regardless of internet availability. Additionally, you can integrate offline features within your app, allowing users to access certain functionalities even when they’re not connected to the internet.
- Multi-Touch Feature. Mobile apps offer multi-touch gestures like swiping and pinching, providing users with a more personalised, engaging, and interactive experience than desktop browsers. This feature is available on iOS and Android apps.
- Integrations. Mobile apps have access to various features on a phone that web browsers don’t. You can integrate your app with phone contacts, browser data, camera functions, GPS, and other smartphone features, enhancing the user experience and making it more enjoyable and immersive.
Should you turn your website into native or hybrid apps?
There are two main types of mobile apps: native and hybrid. Native apps are built specifically for a particular platform, such as iOS or Android. Hybrid apps are built using web technologies, but they can be used on both iOS and Android devices.
No matter which method you choose, it is important to make sure that your app is well-designed and user-friendly. You should also make sure that your app is optimised for the different mobile platforms.
Which type of app is right for you?
There are a few factors to consider when deciding whether to create a native or hybrid app.
- Cost: Native apps are typically more expensive to develop than hybrid apps. This is because native apps need to be built from scratch for each platform. Hybrid apps, on the other hand, can be built once and then deployed to both iOS and Android devices.
- Time to market: Hybrid apps can be developed and deployed more quickly than native apps. This is because hybrid apps can reuse code that was already developed for the web.
- Features: Native apps can access more features on a device than hybrid apps. This is because native apps are written in the same language as the device’s operating system. Hybrid apps, on the other hand, are limited to the web technologies that are supported by both iOS and Android.
Key considerations for converting web apps
As a mobile and web application company, we want to provide you with valuable recommendations for creating a competitive product, especially when converting a web app into a mobile app. Here are five important things to keep in mind:
- Consider the platform-specific UI design guidelines. The two most popular mobile platforms, iOS and Android, have different UI design guidelines. When designing your mobile application, consider the principles of Flat Design (iOS) and Material Design (Android) to ensure a cohesive and user-friendly interface.
- Adapt the interface to the display format of mobile devices. Mobile apps have specific quality criteria due to the limited display sizes. Consider factors such as power consumption, responsiveness on different hardware, efficient operation within the chosen operating system, and seamless interaction with smartphone or tablet functionality (e.g., touchscreen, contact book, camera, GPS sensors).
- Enhance the existing functionality. If your web app already has some functionality, you can extend it by adding features only available on mobile devices. For example, you could add a location-based feature that allows users to find nearby businesses or a push notification feature that alerts users to new content.
- Use the right development tools. There are a number of different development tools available for converting web apps into mobile apps. The right tool for you will depend on your specific needs and requirements. However, it’s important to use a tool that will allow you to create a high-quality, native-like app.
- Invest in comprehensive testing. When developing for iOS, testing can be relatively straightforward due to a limited range of devices. However, Android presents challenges with its device fragmentation, varying display formats, and other technical specifications across different models and OS versions. Investing in paid testing solutions becomes necessary to ensure compatibility across a wide range of Android devices.
Making the decision to invest in a new product is never easy. The risks may seem daunting, and the benefits may not be immediately apparent. However, as the mobile market continues to expand, converting your website into an app can provide long-term advantages for your business.
Creativ Digital provides quick steps and detailed insights into the advantages of converting your website into an app. It’s important to note that sustainable solutions and thorough follow-up are necessary after the conversion to ensure the app’s success in the long run.