Responsive design. This is a reasonably new industry term which in simple terms describes a website which recognises if it is being viewed on a mobile device and changes its display options to best suit the device. All the content available on a desktop machine is available on the mobile version but scaled, rearranged and presented using a mobile friendly menu system. This site is built on a responsive platform, so if you view this article on your mobile you'll find the site looks slightly different and is easy to navigate without zooming in/out and scrolling left/right. Behind the scenes there is a great deal of Java Script which interrogates your browser on the devices and then makes the presentation changes required. This requires a fair degree of processor power and on very slow devices you might notice slightly slower page load times. However most modern mobile devices are equipped with powerful processors and you'll probably never notice.
The benefits of a responsive design is that your site will be accessible on almost all devices – Apple, Linux variants, Windows and Android. The only disadvantage is that you won't have the option to present specific content to mobile platforms.
Mobile Applications. If you have specific content that you would like to present to your visitors who are on the move, a mobile App. Is the way forward for you. If for example you want to offer a special discount for Early Bird visitors but only on specific days of the week which vary week on week, a mobile App. Is ideal. The potential customers clicks on the offers button and is presented with the upcoming offers. If they are in the area you can entice them in. If you want to offer directions to difficult to find locations, the mapping system in mobiles is easily accessible and very useful. Another often overlooked benefit is that once your customers have installed the App. On their device you have effectively placed a miniature salesman in their pockets. Mobile users tend not to delete App.s until they are running out of storage so your App. Will sit quietly awaiting your customers attention indefinitely. The is a slight problem with mobile App.s however. There are four major platforms on the market and quite a number of other propitiatory platforms. Android and Kindle are open source and easy to build App.s for. Apple devices are reasonably easy to build Apps. For but there is no guarantee that Apple will accept your App. for upload into their store. As this is the only simple way to install Apple App.s it can be a major disadvantage. Windows and Blackberry devices are not supported by most App. development platforms and Windows specifically is a close platform so the use of App.s in very restricted.
An App. Is ideal as an additional service for your customers. It can offer benefits that your website can't really deal with. But it's unlikely that mobile App.s will ever replace business websites. There are some limited situations where an App. Is a direct replacement for a website. This is an example. Home Chef App. For Android.