“Should I make an app or website?”
If you ask that question to any developer or designer, many will probably tell you the same thing: it depends. It depends on a bunch of variables. What’s your long-term goal? What’s your budget? What features do you want? Will most of your customers come from mobile or desktop?
Having worked on tens of thousands of mobile and web projects at Crew, for both first-time entrepreneurs and seasoned companies like Eventbrite and IDEO, we can reliably say that every situation is different.
Sometimes it’s easy to know if an app or a website is the way to go. But other times, not so much.
For instance, what should you do if you’re building the first version of your idea and you have a budget less than $2ok but mobile is your core differentiation and you need your product to work well across many devices?
To help make it easier to answer a scenario like this, we made a tool that factors in these different decisions you need to consider before you rush out and drop twenty grand building the wrong thing.
The tool (perhaps, unsurprisingly) is called App vs Website.
How App vs. Website works
App vs. Website walks you through the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions you need to consider when deciding between building an app or website.
How we made it
There’s a lot of articles that discuss the tradeoffs of building an app or a website but not many leave you with a clear decision based on your specific situation.
The decision to build an app, website, or both hinges on a few main factors:
- Your budget
- If your idea require features (like location-based or navigation) that work best with mobile devices
- If building for mobile makes you different from your competition (i.e. like how Mailbox focused on email for mobile versus their web-based competitors like Gmail)
- The level of design you need at this stage of your concept
- If you need your product to work well across many devices
To start building app vs website, we first wrote out these main factors that impact a decision to go web or mobile:
While mobile might seem like the obvious choice today because of how mobile technology is changing the world, it’s not always the best decision to make an app in your particular situation. Granted, down the line a mobile app may make sense. We don’t discount where technology is headed. But a mobile app might not be where you need to start.
Once we had all the variables down, we looked at how they were related. The easiest way to visualize all the potential combinations was to map it out like this (using draw.io):
One of the challenges with setting this up was customizing the answer you got for each scenario. We didn’t just want to leave you with an answer like, “Hey, you should go build an app!” without an explanation why.
So each route has a specific answer based on your answers:If you’re considering building either an app or a website, take a look at App vs Website first. We hope it helps you sort through the questions you need to ask before choosing which path to go down.