3 ways how to reach mobile device users

The need for businesses to reach users of mobile devices is undeniable. People become more and more attached to their phones and spend most of their free time using them. According to statistics over 5 billion people own a mobile device and companies have to find a way to reach them.

As a matter of fact, most businesses already have a website that potential clients can visit to learn more about the product or to purchase it online. But still, not all of them are adapted for mobile devices. As the search engines are paying more and more attention to mobile users, the websites that are not optimized are losing not only their potential clients but their rank as well.

A company that wants to appeal to mobile users has three options: make the responsive website, build a progressive web app or create a separate mobile app.

Responsive Web Design

Responsive Web Design (RWD) is an approach to web design that makes pages’ layout change depending on the screen size. The RWD relies on percentages to scale page elements rather than pixels and points that allow retaining the overall design of the website. It helps to be consistent throughout all the devices and occur familiar for users no matter where they are viewing the site.

Although it is much easier to make the website responsive from the very beginning it can also be done with an existing site. It would need to be changed a little bit mostly because you won’t be able to fit everything the website has on the desktop into a small smartphone screen. In comparison to other forms of mobile versions, RWD is easiest to make. Besides that, most websites that are developed today already are responsive and adjusted for smaller screens.


User experience. Responsive design provides users the coherent design across different devices while not compromising the usability of the website.

Save cost. Designing one website is cheaper than multiple versions and applications.

Easier analytics. RWD allows gathering the statistics from different devices in a much more efficient way from one website.


Bad content adaptation. Because the responsive website is designed to suit multiple screens the content would be displayed perfectly on neither device.

Slow down loading. Responsive design scales down elements, including pictures, and not re-sizing them which leads to longer load time, especially on mobile devices.

Influence the layout. The transition of the website layout from mobile to desktop screen can be difficult for the graphic designer.

Progressive Web App

Progressive Web App (PWA) is an application that for users appears to be a native app on mobile devices. Due to the app shell, the website doesn’t show the URL and opens full screen. With the PWA companies can deliver their potential customers app-like experience without the need to develop separate software specifically for mobile devices. Users don’t need to install the PWA like regular mobile apps. However, it cashes the information on users’ device which helps the app to run offline, send notifications and create an icon for easier access.

The Progressive Web App can be opened both as a mobile and web app making it very efficient when it comes to reaching users of smartphones and tablets, as well as desktop. The company doesn’t have to create different types of software just to approach users on multiple devices.


Push notification. PWA is able to send users push notifications to help companies communicate with their potential clients.

Offline connection. Thanks to cashed data users can open the PWA even without the Internet connection.

Indexability. Because the PWA has a URL it is viewed by the search engine as a website, therefore, it can be indexed and have an impact on the app rank in the result list.

Fast load speed. Another benefit of cashed data is an increased load speed both online and offline.


Absence from app stores. Although the PWA appears to be a mobile app, it is not. So it can’t be installed from the app store.

Lack of access to device features. Progressive Web App cannot access such device features as camera, microphone, contacts, calendar, etc.

Lack of support on devices. Some devices can have troubles with PWA features, like hidden URL, making it look less like an app.

Mobile App

Unlike the PWA, a mobile app is a software that should be installed on the users’ device. However, it gives more opportunities for developers and companies. Mobile apps can be much more customized for a specific audience to make the user experience better. Also, applications allow the development of functions that are not possible with the responsive website and PWA, like taking photos or making calls.

Mobile app is a perfect way to give the users value in addition to the information available on the website. It usually can handle difficult data manipulations making them an ideal form for a game or a tool that helps users with different task among other banking, activity tracking, and organization.

However, while already existing websites can be adapted for mobile devices and PWA can be viewed on a desktop, the mobile app requires the development of entirely different software specifically for smartphones and tablets. Having an app is undoubtedly an advantage for companies but not all can fit their offer into a form of a mobile application. Due to the fact that apps supposed to be highly interactive, the products or services that the company provides may be difficult to present to users within an app.


Access to device features. Access to the device’s hardware and features allows having a broader range of functions within the app.

Offline access. Having software installed on the device gives users the convenience of using it whenever they want even if the Internet connection is off.

Opportunities for brand promotion. Company can show users push notifications informing them about new products, sales or updates within an app.

Opportunities for additional revenue. Giving users the opportunity to purchase items or placing ads in the application gives the company the opportunity to have an additional stream of revenue.

Presence in app stores. App stores are the first place where users are looking for a new mobile app.


High cost. Every platform requires separate apps increasing the cost of the development.

Maintenance and updates. Mobile apps should be maintained and regularly updated to fix bugs and to accommodate for the changes in new OS versions.

Which option to choose?

It depends entirely on the company which of three options will better suit it. For online stores, for example, it is not necessary to create a separate mobile app but their customers will appreciate the responsive store or PWA so that it would be easier to use on smaller screens. Websites that allow their users to create accounts can consider developing a PWA or a native mobile app as long as the application will not be the exact copy of the website. However, companies don’t need to limit themselves to only one option. The combination of two can have even better results for the business than one.

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