We love apps at Ionata Digital.

Log on to SnapChat, Yik Yak or Periscope and we’ll be there. If we have headphones in we’re probably listening to Spotify, SoundCloud or a Podcast (give Answer Me This a try). Xero and ANZ goMoney mean we never need stand in line at the bank.

We love building apps too. iOS or Android if you need an app developed we’re in.

But should you build an app or do you really need a mobile friendly website?

What is your budget?

Let’s get the money out of the way up front. Developing an app can be expensive and is almost always more expensive that developing a website. Development of a custom app is likely to start around $25k and go up from there depending on the features you are after.

It get’s even more expensive if you would like the app to be available on Apple and Android devices. In fact as a rule of thumb you should expect it to be twice as expensive to build an app for both iOS and Android.

Will your app make use of navigation or location information?

If you want to provide journey planning information to your app users or show a map with their current location then an app is a great idea. iOS and Android devices can use GPS and a number of other technologies to pin point your users current location.

Have you got an idea for the next Instagram?

If you need to use the phone’s inbuilt camera features to capture photos or videos then an app is the way to go.

Is it important that you can push alerts or notifications in real-time?

Your app user is riding into work and the location tracking shows that they are about to pass a coffee shop with a “buy one get one free offer”.  In order to push an alert to these users you will need to build an app. Mobile friendly website won’t help you in this circumstance.

Do you need to provide seamless personalisation?

Mobile phones are very personal, designed for use by an individual rather than shared around. This means apps can be personal too. Once installed an app can remember who you are to avoid the hassle of logging in repeatedly.

What if I don’t need any of those things?

If you don’t need to use the camera, gyroscope, location tracking, push alerts or other features that you can build into an app then an app may not be the best solution for you.

If you have an idea for an online magazine for people to read as they commute home or a directory of services in your local area which people can access when they are out an about, you might be better off building a mobile friendly website.

A mobile friendly website will work on iOS or Android straight out of the box without any extra work and it is likely to be cheaper than developing an app.

Either way, whether you are after an app or really just need a website that looks great on mobile devices, get in touch. We would love to hear about your project.