Should You Build a Mobile App or a Website for Your Startup?

(Shared by Jennifer Dunn, Program Assistant, Endeavor Center, OSU South Centers)

by Slava Bushtruk

Website, web app, or a mobile app—what would be the right “form” for your business idea?

Since the release of the very first iPhone, everyone has been treating the mobile-first business model as the new gold rush. Some, on the contrary, say that the modern user is already experiencing app fatigue and that people tend to use just three apps at most, so competing for desktop attention still remains easier.

As a new business owner, you may be overwhelmed by the choice. Will your product serve better as a mobile app (which offers a better experience on mobile, yet needs to be installed and can be deleted on a whim), or a web app (immediately accessible at any time, yet less simple to navigate from a handheld gadget)?

Some high profile businesses have heavily invested in their “mobile-first” experience (Uber, Instagram, Zomato Order), while others (Airbnb, JIRA, InVision) deliberately chose to stick with the web app version.

In the course of this post, we’ll specifically talk about the cases when you should build a mobile app—a product that is specifically designed to run on smartphone, tablets, and wearables and requires installation; or a web app—a client-server software application that runs in the browser (both desktop and mobile).

We’ll look into the reasoning behind the decision between these two options, and guide you toward the optimal choice for your product idea through a series of questions.

1. What is your product goal?

You are about to launch a new offering. Of course, you have specific business goals in mind, apart from merely making profits and changing the world.

To clarify your goals and next steps, you’ll want to validate your idea, and research your target market and their behavior as it relates to your specific product idea and in terms of the way they consume information online.

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