Native Apps vs. Mobile Web: Pros and Cons [infographic]

I’m becoming a huge fan of infographics, they are everywhere. Infographics provide an aesthetically-pleasing way of presenting complex information quickly, clearly and cleanly. Recently a number of companies have come out with tools, that enable us to create these cool graphics with little knowlege of design, my favorite is http://infogr.am/. Check it out when you have a chance, it’s simply awesome.

One of the questions I hear often with regards to mobile learning (mLearning) is whether companies should consider building mobile apps or developing mLearning that can be consumed by learners via browsers on mobile devices. Like anything else there are pros and cons, so it depends.

I ran into the infographic below, and while it compares Apps vs building a website, I believe the principles here are still applicable for deciding how to go about building and delivering learning experiences on mobile.

On the one hand, mobile apps provide more possibilities because developers can make use of features like location services, camera, gyroscope, accelerometer, etc., however they are more expensive to build and companies have to account for so many platforms, each with different programming languages, including iOS, Android, Windows Phone, RIM and others.

This can quickly become time consuming and very expensive. Not to mention the fact that you may need to go through store approval, just ask the makers of the OnLive app, who has been waiting for Apple’s approval for 6 months.

I’m not saying this will happen to your learning app, as it may be for internal deployment, in which case your app may never need to go through the App store, but hopefully you get my point here.

Having said that, I personally think that going the mobile web route is a better way to go for mLearning. As technologies around HTML5 get more powerful and we continue to see what’s possible with Responsive Web design, I’m convinced we can create great learning experiences that adapts to different screen sizes, and  can consumed my learners everywhere, including the desktop and mobile devices, all while using a single codebase.

Check out the infographic below and share your thoughts by commenting or by voting below. And if you find this interesting, hit the Tweet button at the top and share with your Twitter followers.

What do you think? Mobile Native Apps for mLearning, the Mobile Web or both?

Native Apps, Mobile Web or both mLearning?

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Should You Build a Mobile App or Mobile Website? [infographic by MDG Advertising]

The decision between building a mobile website or a mobile application is ultimately a decision unique to your business. If possible, companies should develop both in order to leverage these two powerful platforms. If only one can be chosen, business must first assess their goals and resources, then closely consider the differences detailed in the infographic and the audience they want to reach. Only then can a business truly tell which mobile method will provide more value, advantages, and opportunities with the massive mobile market.

Infographicby MDG Advertising

via Mobile App or Mobile Website Development? | Which Has Better Long-Term Value? | An infographic by MDG Advertising.

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About RJ Jacquez

My name is RJ Jacquez, Mobile Learning Analyst and Consultant, helping companies understand the potential of Mobile and make a successful transition from eLearning to mLearning in their organizations. Also a Mobile Learning Evangelist, Podcasting and Blogging the Mobile Learning Revolution as it happens. Before that, I worked for Adobe Systems and Macromedia as a Senior Evangelist. I'm honored to be among great company in the following lists and articles: 1) mLearning’s game changers: Who’s on your dream team? (http://t.co/7j5KoylW) 2) Top 25 Most Influential Bloggers in Technical Communications (http://bit.ly/a8ooZC) 3) Top 20 most influential tweeters in eLearning, training and HR (http://bit.ly/KCOjqf). 4) I was also mentioned in this article on Why Every Company Needs a Robert Scoble (infographic) for my work as an Adobe Evangelist (http://bit.ly/v0IMHs). Please follow me on Twitter @rjacquez
  • http://twitter.com/dasalsakid Leonardo Camargo

    Very interesting infographic (I am also a big fan of infographics and I will look into that infogr.am site). Two other things to consider come to mind. First, the customer base can change this decision. Here in Colombia, most people do not have unlimited data plans, so if we want university students to learn English on their cell phones, it would be better to offer an app so it’s available offline. Also, (this is more of a question) I am wondering if app usage can be tracked/analyzed  as well as it is done with mobile web, especially if the app is used mostly offline. Knowing, for instance, what other websites people come from and what pages they use the most when they are on the mobile site can really help in developing a better mlearning product or service.

    P.S. Love the blog and podcast. I am learning so much! Thanks RJ! 

    • rjacquez

      Hola Leonardo, many thanks for your comment and I’m so glad to hear you are finding this blog and our Podcast on mLearning useful. Your kind words are very motivating, so I will keep it going. I see your point and I think many countries, including here in the US, don’t have the luxury of having unlimited data plans and this is important for us to keep in mind as we design content that ultimately gets consumed on mobile devices. I believe we need to design with this in mind and embrace ‘simplicity’ in our design and never assume that our consumers and/or mobile learners will always have access to WiFi zones. I also see your point regarding the need to have offline access and thus why developers would gravitate toward native apps and I sure hope the mobile web can make some strides toward working offline as we move forward. As for tracking this is where the new project tin can comes in. I interviewed these guys in a recent podcast and I’m excited about what they doing to make tracking possible for mLearning. Thanks again, my friend.