Now that the internet is freely accessible from pocket-sized devices, most people use a smartphone or tablet to go online. If you already built apps for all major smartphone operating systems, is it pointless to make desktop and web-based applications? Shouldn’t it be enough to have mobile website?
While a mobile website is convenient, it doesn’t serve the same purpose as an app. Mobile apps are good enough for most users, but a mobile app can’t fulfill the needs of all users at all times. There are plenty of situations that require a desktop or web-based version of an application.
If you want to capture more of your market, here’s why you should consider launching desktop and web versions of your app:
1. Not everyone uses a smartphone
This may be hard to believe, but not everyone owns a smartphone or mobile device. According to techjury, only 77% of Americans have smartphones. That leaves 27% of Americans who primarily use a desktop or laptop computer for everything. If you don’t create a desktop program or web-based application, a portion of your market can’t use your services.
Twenty-seven percent doesn’t seem like much until you do the math. As of July 2019, Worldometers.info puts the U.S. population at just over 329,000. Using that population estimate, 88,830 Americans don’t have a smartphone. If your demographic consists entirely of teenagers, you can probably get away with only launching smartphone apps. Teenagers are known for being addicted to mobile devices. However, if your demographic includes adults (especially older adults), you need a desktop and web-based version of your app.
2. Web-based apps are universally accessible
A smartphone app only works when a person has access to their specific smartphone. They can access your app from someone else’s phone, but it won’t be connected to their account. For example, if your app is a fitness tracker, what good would it do for a person to use a friend’s phone? When they open the app, the fitness tracker will display their friend’s progress. Unlike a web-based app launched in a browser, it’s not easy to switch accounts in a smartphone app. The app usually needs to be deleted and reinstalled.
When someone loses their phone or forgets to bring it with them, a web-based app ensures users can access their account data from anywhere – even the library. All they need is a browser.
Web-based apps are convenient marketing tools, too. For example, you can give users a free trial without making them download anything.
It’s time to build a web-based app
To get started building a web-based app, you need a developer who specializes in building web applications. You can’t just transfer the code from your Android app to your website. Each app must be built from scratch in a new language. Even Android and Apple OS apps are each built from scratch.
Before hiring anyone, talk to your existing developer first since they will know your project inside and out. If they can’t build a web application to your specifications, there are plenty of developers who can.
Be sure to put your web-based app on a simple and memorable domain name. It’s best to host your web application on its own domain. Think hard before you commit to a domain and don’t buy a name using a trendy extension. As Name Experts explain, short, brandable .com domains are the assets that provide the most equity and long-term value to brands.
For example, Facebook launched a web-based version of Messenger on messenger.com. Instagram launched a desktop version of their chat system (Instagram Direct) and is currently building a web-based version of Instagram Direct.
3. Sometimes people want to use a bigger screen
Small screens are usable, but sometimes people want to use a bigger screen, especially if they have a choice in the moment.
For instance, if someone is already using their laptop to browse the internet, they’re not going to grab their smartphone to start browsing Facebook. They’re going to simply open a new browser tab and get on Facebook.
4. You can provide features for everyone
When developing apps for mobile devices, you’re limited by the device’s capabilities. It’s not fair to provide some features to Apple users that Android users don’t get. However, a web-based application is virtually unrestricted in terms of the features you can provide. Launching special features in a web-based application makes it fair.
Reach more of your market
Mobile devices are popular, but not everyone prefers using them. If you want to reach more of your market, you need to build web and desktop versions of your applications.