‘Apps’ is a term that we throw around a lot these days but did you know that mobile apps aren’t the only type of apps available to us? Until I started here at Elixel I didn’t. Web apps are also an option and over my last 7 months I’ve heard the team talking about them so I figured it was really time I found out what they are so here I am again, trying to tell you in plain simple English what I’ve learnt.
A mobile app is an application that is downloaded to your mobile device from one of the stores available - for example the App Store or Google Play.
A web app isn’t downloaded to your device but is used through a web browser on either a desktop computer, laptop or mobile device.
The question I then asked myself was ‘Well isn’t that just a website?’ and the answer is no.
A website is described as something that is informative and requires no, or very limited, interaction from the user. You may add an email in to receive a newsletter but that’s it.
A web app is a far more interactive experience and it requires much more information from the user to serve its purpose. A great example of a web app is our first in house creation - Tea Minus.
Tea Minus was designed to help decide who’s turn it is to make the office drinks round. Say you fancy a tea or coffee, you’d start a round and everyone in your team would get a push notification telling them it’s time to select their drink. After 3 minutes the app randomly decides who will make the drinks for everyone - or if you’re feeling kind you can volunteer rather than let the system decide. The ‘Chosen One’ is then given a list of drinks to easily work from.
For Tea Minus we have both a mobile app that is available to download on iOS or Android and a web app that you can reach via https://app.teaminusapp.com. The mobile app and the web app have the same functionality so I can hear you asking the question ‘Why bother making both?’ Well, we understand that in some offices having your phone out is against company policy so a mobile app alone is no good and we didn’t want to alienate a possible user base.
The reason https://app.teaminusapp.com is a web app and not a website is because it has far more functionality than a website. You can login, create teams, personalise drink options, select the drink you want for the round and even volunteer. Other than the final page with the list of drinks it isn’t a place to get information, it’s an application you interact with.
You can probably now remember a time when you used what you thought was a website but you now realise it was a web app!
If you’re considering creating a website or an app, whether it be a mobile app or a web app, why not get in touch with our techy team to talk through the best solutions for you. Get in touch via our contact page or give us a call on 01752 395404, we’d love to hear from you.
Thanks again for reading another instalment, these get more and more challenging for me each time I write one but I love the feeling I get when I’ve figured something out!
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Next up in the non-techy talks series: What is an app-inbox?