Do You Need an App? With Alain Hufkens

2 min read
Sep 23, 2018

Have you ever considered building an app for your company? Whether you’re a business owner, marketing director, or other decision maker for your brand, chances are you’ve had representatives from every kind of agency call regarding mobile apps, mobile websites, and responsive websites. But how are you supposed to know which is right for you?

To help you figure this, out Glance contacted freelance iOS Developer Alain Hufkens, Co-Founder and Developer at Wee Taps.

In your opinion, what companies should invest in mobile apps?

I don’t think every company needs to squeeze all of the functionality of their product into a mobile app, let alone have one that is just an app version of their website. In that case, they should just invest in a proper responsive website. But for some companies, mobile is the key entry for their product. Companies like Uber and Airbnb wouldn’t exist without mobile, so they needed to take the parts of their product that are most useful to mobile for their app. When you are making an app, be selective and don’t make the app too bloated.

When you’re talking to potential customers about mobile development, how do you explain the need for apps to someone who is less technically proficient?

That might be one of the hardest parts about mobile development … especially when it comes to cost. 

For most companies, mobile is the key entry for their product.Click To Tweet

Because I’m primarily focused on native iOS development, I only work on iOS apps. A potential client might not understand why it’s so hard to make apps that fit all platforms or understand why it costs so much money. When you compare what it costs to buy an app (most of them are free) versus what it costs to build one, it’s hard to understand how an app can sometimes cost more than $5,000. Some clients don’t know how much work goes into a good app, but so much goes into it.

Is an app similar to a mobile site? For those who don’t know, how would you explain the differences in functionality?

If the app is just a version of the site’s functionality, then yes, they are similar. But in that case, you wouldn’t need the app and you are better off with only your site. A real app is an extension of your website, and in some cases the website is the extension of the app (Examples: Instagram and Swarm). A real app provides functionality specifically for your mobile device.

A mobile website is an optimized website that renders on mobile devices but doesn’t have to be installed on the device. The advantage is that you don’t need to install it through an app store, and that means you can continuously update the app for bugs and features.

With an app, on the other hand, you need to submit a binary to an app store; and for some app stores, you even need to get the app approved. The advantage is that your app is more optimized for the platform and you can use features that are not allowed in a website. But you will need to go through the submission every time for updates and bugs, and your users will have to update the app.

Let’s talk apps!

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