How Many Touches Does It Take to
Get to the Center of a Mobile App?

(February 17, 2015) – People are always asking us—what’s the difference between a mobile responsive website and a mobile app? Why should I choose one over the other? 

We’ve never believed that it’s either/or. The answer is BOTH. But to tie them to the same goals would yield undesirable results, as each has fundamental differences. 

Take navigation, for instance. 

The number of touches it takes to navigate a mobile site is between 10 and 25. Think about it: one touch to open the browser. One touch to start a search. Many touches to enter search terms. Another touch for enter. One or two more touches to choose the correct result. Then, figure in likely snafus in between (especially if the site isn’t mobile responsive), and your audience member has done a lot of work just to get to you. 

The good news? By the time they reach what they’re looking for, they’re highly engaged. The bad news? Depending on the mobile responsiveness of your site, they’ve either given up on their way to an answer or they’re frustrated by the time they get there. Oh, and don’t forget about page load times depending on wi-fi availability. 

The number of touches it takes to get to a mobile app is one. That’s right—one. When your information seeker sets out to find an answer, all they need to do is simply open your mobile app and they’re ready to go. From there, information you’ve curated and bucketed is readily available for the user to explore. Plus, apps are downloaded to a device, and therefore available offline, making information access quicker and easier whenever and wherever they are. 

Remember: sites work best when they’re used for research. If you’re trying to attract a newcomer or you want the user to have a broad range of search options available, this is your best bet. But you shouldn’t hold your most engaged users to the same standards. Give them what they need, when they need it, at the click of a button—literally.   

Want to see other sites vs. apps comparisons like this one? Check out our new Mobile Apps vs. Mobile Sites Cheat Sheet to help you compare. Plus, check back as we post new comparisons in our apps vs. sites blog series.



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Author: Stefanie Jansen

Mobile Sites vs. Mobile Apps Cheat Sheet

What’s the difference between a mobile site and a mobile app? Do I choose one or both? Find out in our quick and easy Mobile Sites vs. Mobile Apps Cheat Sheet!

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