We are mobile specialists

Everybody is talking mobile. Smart phones and tablets are changing the way that users interact with content and online services. 45% of people interact with online content while out and about. That rises to 70% for 16-25s. (UK, September 2011). Online providers must engage with this emerging market or face losing customers. So what are the options?

Responsive Design

Responsive design is a front-end development technique that delivers website content to different devices in a manner that is optimised for the screen width of the device. Key to this approach is that a website’s visual appearance/layout can be tailored to each device, without the need for a separate “mobile” versions.

A responsively designed page will rearrange content constantly as the screen changes size. While specific screen sizes can be defined where a page changes layout, taking a ‘responsive’ design approach means that a site will be optimised for all potential screen dimensions.

This offers a degree of future proofing. This is worth considering as new mobile devices are constantly being released and we don’t know what size the next shiny new device will be! Headscape can retrofit responsive design to existing websites. This may mean preselecting screen widths when layouts change, other than the design continually changing, but it will still deliver optimised content to tablet and smartphone devices.

Web app

Typically built with HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript, web apps such as Twitter provide the ability to tailor content delivered to mobile devices rather than simply reconfiguring the same content that a desktop user would receive. Web apps will work on any devices that support modern mobile web browsers making them universal, cross platform applications. This maximises potential audience reach with a single implementation rather than having to develop separate versions for different platforms such Android, iOS or Windows Phone. This reduces development costs.

However, web apps can provide a limited user experience. For example, web apps are unable to use device specific technologies such as a camera. Web apps provide the opportunity to offer mobile users their own tailored experience. However, as this is essentially a separate implementation from a standard web site it is likely to be more costly to implement than a responsive design option.

Native app

A wholly different experience from a website, an app is useful for offering users a specific service or function. Native apps can take advantage of the vast array technology buried in the mobile device; the compass, gyroscope, storage (offline and cloud), Near Field Communications (NFC), and the camera.

Native apps offer the user the slickest experience on a mobile device. However, development time is likely to be greatest of all the mobile options. Also, each native environment (iOS, Android, Windows, RIM) requires its own development; native apps are not cross platform. These two factors combine to make this the most costly option in terms of both time and budget.

As you can see, Headscape has extensive experience in the range of mobile options available. For more information on these options and to see examples of our mobile work, download our mobile factsheet.