Website or App, Which is Your Preference? - gHacks Tech News

Website or App, Which is Your Preference?

Over the last two years one of the biggest complaints I've had to make against tablet computers is that the Internet has simply not kept the same pace of change.  If you go to any wbesite you'll still find hyperlinks stacked closely together, drop down menus that only appear when you hover over them and similar features that are far from touch friendly.  It's not just smaller website that are guilty of this but the big boys too.  Go to Amazon, eBay or PayPal and try navigating via touch, it isn't easy.  This is why gHacks has big and easily clickable links, because we know you all have tablets  :)

A few website will offer a mobile version for smartphones, but when it comes to tablets you're out of luck.  Out of luck that is unless the company has invested in an app for your specific device.  If they have you will have a far better experience navigating their site.  The differences between websites and apps can be huge, with the usability offered by device-specific apps far ahead of anything the company's website can offer.

It's interesting to note too that in the last couple of years the big players on the Internet have made absolutely no attempt to make their websites touch-friendly.  This is despite tablet computing taking off a big way and even the near-imminent arrival of the super-touch-friendly Windows 8 operating system.  Personally I find this disappointing and that it demonstrates a lack of understanding and vision on the part of these companies.

How many more people could they reach for instance if they made their websites more touch-friendly?  Certainly the disabled and the elderly are an enormous and mostly untapped market for Internet businesses.

So this got me thinking, which do you prefer?  From websites and their corresponding apps such as Facebook and Twitter, to Amazon, eBay and more we're very interested to hear if you've begun to abandon company websites in favour of their much more user-friendly apps.  Alternatively are there companies that have provided apps for other platforms that are yet to accommodate your own platform?

Let us know in the comments as it's clear this is not only an issue that is frustrating many web users, not just myself, but that is it a problem that is only going to get worse unless and until these companies embrace touch on their website themselves.

However, it does raise additional questions, the most important being do we now need websites at all?  If we are all going to be used to downloading and using apps on our smartphones, tablets and desktop computers through Apple's app store for OS X and the forthcoming Windows 8 store, why do we still need the websites?  Surely a visit to amazon.com should just present you with a links to their various apps on their various platforms?

Tell us what you think in the comments.

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Comments

  1. robin said on November 4, 2011 at 11:15 pm
    Reply

    While I don’t own a tablet :), I’m still in the middle of this conversation with several people.

    There’s a sort of venn diagram triangle going on here: apps, web apps and tablets.

    My position that I’ve advocated: for a mobile device you certainly need a cross-platform web app (though I recognize the important arguments of those who believe in responsive site design) not a native app. For tablets (aka iPad) I’m arguing against a different presentation. Their screen is big enough and the resolution good enough that you’re doing your visitors a dis-service by reducing the site’s visual impact. mho of course!

  2. anon said on November 4, 2011 at 11:31 pm
    Reply

    That’s why I’m still with my stylus PDA. These new touch-screens are very limiting – certainly impossible to use with gloves on (in cold weather climes)…

  3. Ross Presser said on November 5, 2011 at 5:11 am
    Reply

    I do NOT want to be jamming up my phone or tablet (and chewing up my ridiculously expensive mobile bandwidth!) with an app for every site I would visit on the web. Nor do I want to be locked in to just a handful of sites — the web is world wide, dammit. APPS SUCK.

    Why haven’t the brilliant folks designing phones and tablets leveraged those forward facing cameras to watch where my fingertip is, giving me the equivalent of a mouse pointer? Hover my finger over the screen and see popup menus appear, then touch the screen for a click.

    1. mike pozsgay said on November 5, 2011 at 6:43 pm
      Reply

      YAHOOMAIL APPS SUCK … NECESSARY ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS ARE DELETED …NO ACCESS TO CONTACT LISTS (RENAMED FROM CATEGORIES)… MESSAGE BOX REJECTS TEXT INPUT … ANDROID MARKET CONTAINS FAKE? APPS … HACKED BY GOOGLE ? TO FORCE USERS TO SWITCH .. BUT GOOGLE EVEN WORSE IGNORING USERS NEEDS/DEMANDS IN REDESIGN WITHOUT GIVING OPTION TO STAY WITH THE OLD CLASSIC VERSIONS WHICH USERS NEED TO EMAIL MULTIPLE CONTACTS IN BBC WITH ONE STROKE … (GRANDCHILDREN ESP) …
      /DR MIKE POZSGAY

  4. gadgets said on November 5, 2011 at 2:39 pm
    Reply

    ‘However, it does raise additional questions, the most important being do we now need websites at all? ‘

    Martin, what do you people call a site special design for iphone or Android? I believe it is still call a website but just that its dimension is different. I am not sure how the future will be so I really can’t answer you the future question but for now I do know that Chrome apps are mostly consist of a link to an online website , so why not? Why we no need a website after all? If website is history then I believe lots of programming languages will be history as well, for example PHP which is so lovely!

    For a not so related question, Martin, is it alright for us to include a link to our ‘Website’ on your blog? Hopefully I can get this answer after I provided you with my comment.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm
      Reply

      There is a website field for that in the comment form.

      1. gadgets said on November 5, 2011 at 3:25 pm
        Reply

        Yes, I know but I don’t want to be mistaken as a spammer therefore I need to ask the site owner first. Anyway my website is about web development and programming so I don’t know whether is it alright to leave a link here or not.

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on November 5, 2011 at 4:32 pm
        Reply

        As long as it is nothing illegal or controversial go ahead.

  5. tommy2rs said on November 5, 2011 at 3:00 pm
    Reply

    I could care less about smartphones, apps, tablets and touch screens, however I would like to see websites go in the direction pointed by the Opera Reader project. But getting Corporate America to invest the money in any changes will be like pulling hen’s teeth. Look how long IE6 has been the bane of corporate drones work lives. They will have to be shown the money and then led by the nose, probably kicking and screaming…lol

  6. gadgets said on November 5, 2011 at 5:46 pm
    Reply

    Thanks, Martin, I will be very busy from now on starting to develop my Android app so maybe will see you people next week.

  7. Andy said on November 7, 2011 at 10:17 am
    Reply

    Being based in China means having continuous trouble accessing the mobile web. Data speed is flaky at best. Though some providers are better than others, unfortunately I’m stuck with latter one.

    Hence I clearly prefer apps compared to websites. To be more precise I prefer whatever gives me offline access.

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