Do you need an app? Take the quiz.

Should you create a mobile-friendly website, a web app that runs in a mobile browser, or a native mobile app? Here’s a quick quiz to help you figure out the best fit for your company.

responsive web vs. web app vs. native app

With more than 2 billion mobile devices expected to ship in 2015, getting mobile users engaged is a priority for marketers. People check email, browse sites, shop, view videos, and perform tasks on their mobile devices more than ever before … and the numbers are growing.

Companies often must decide whether to build a mobile-friendly website, a web app that runs in a mobile browser, or a native mobile app for specific mobile devices. Here’s a quick quiz to help assess your goals and resources to see which mobile approach or approaches might be a good fit for your company.

Play around with the answers and see how your responses change the recommendations. While it doesn’t give you a final decision, the quiz provides a high-level review of the important questions to answer before deciding whether to build a mobile-ready website, a web app, or a native app.

1. How many of your visitors are from mobile?

Check your analytics to see how many of your visitors have been using mobile devices to access your website in the past few months.

Mobile traffic:

2. What do your mobile users typically do?

Check your analytics to see what mobile users are doing on your site. Are they reading articles, learning about your company, and gathering information? Or, are they coming to your site to perform clearly defined tasks on a regular basis, such as playing games, social networking, or checking data such as the weather, stocks, traffic, or scores.


3. How often does the look or functionality have be changed?

How often will you have to change the design or add new functionality?


4. Are you looking to make money from mobile users?

Are you planning on charging a subscription for mobile downloads or use, or are you planning on in-app purchases? Would your app be a stand-alone product?


5. Would mobile users have a better experience if they connected to the internet?

Do visitors need information from the internet during use? Is always-on access needed to serve up content, download traffic or weather data, etc.?


6. Do you need to use the built-in hardware features of the mobile device?

Is accessing the camera, sounds, vibration, shaking/tilting, or using the microphone necessary? Do you need geolocation for location-based information like weather, traffic, check-ins, tagging, or maps?

Hardware use:

7. Do you have experienced in-house staff, or do you have budget to hire app programmers?

Do you have app programmers on staff who can develop for multiple devices? Do you have budget to hire app developers? Do you have experienced staff to manage programmers, provide tech support, and develop and maintain upgrade and monetization strategies?

Programming experience:

8. Is search engine visibility important?

Do you rely on organic search results for people to find your company and products?


9. Do you want users to have a specific app-like or interactive experience?

Are fast speeds a must-have for your users? Do you want a more creative experience than just browsing? Do you want to store user data (scores, preferences, location, profile, etc.) on the user’s device to personalize or contextualize the experience?

User Experience:

responsive website

Up to 40: Responsive Website

With responsive design, you can create one website that delivers an optimized experience at all screen sizes. A responsive site runs in the browser and requires an internet connection. If your web content changes often, you’re interested in getting exposure in online search, or if you have limited programming resources, a responsive website is a great way to reach visitors on any internet-connected device.

web app

41-65 Web App

A web app is built using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript only. It runs in a browser (like a responsive website) and requires an internet connection but has the feel of an app. A web app is better at providing specific functions and not as targeted at providing information that changes often. If you have site visitors that typically perform a specific set of tasks on your website, but you don’t have an app programming team familiar with programming for a range of different mobile operating systems, it might be helpful to create a web app that provides specific functionality.

native phone or tablet app

76-100: Native Mobile App

A native app refers to an application built completely using technologies native to a particular mobile operating system, such as iOs or Android. Native apps are typically much faster than web apps, don’t necessarily rely on an internet connection, and can access all the hardware functions of a particular device. An app can be a great choice if you have the staff or budget to create it; just remember you’ll need a version for each mobile operating system that you want to target.

Bottom line

Should you use this to make a final decision on a mobile strategy for your company? Absolutely not! But, just playing around with the answers can give you an idea of how your requirements and preferences can shift the recommendation either way. There are a few answers that will definitely sway the answer in one direction.

For example, if you’re looking to boost SEO, a website will perform better than an app. If you want an app feel, but want the app to work on a full range of devices without a lot of extra programming, a web app might be best. If you’re looking to make money for the functionality you provide, a native mobile app will let you monetize your project. And, if you don’t have experienced programmers on staff, your budget may help you make the final decision.

Be sure to consult a web or app programmer to get professional input before making your final decision. Your answer might be a combination of approaches to reach each of your mobile audiences.