There are a lot of factors to consider while designing your Ecological Momentary Assessment study. One question that comes up frequently is how to decide whether to use an app or a web-based platform for your EMA study. 

Let's try to understand the difference between the two platforms:

Mobile apps are built for a specific platform, such as iOS for the iPhone or Android. They are downloaded and installed from the app store and have access to system resources, such as GPS and the camera function. Mobile apps can work even in offline mode. Tiktok, Google Maps, and Whatsapp are a few popular mobile apps.

Web apps are accessed via the internet browser and will adapt to whichever device you're opening them on. They are not native to a particular operating system and don't need to be downloaded or installed. Participants get an SMS, Email, or Whatsapp reminder message with the assessment link and use their browsers to complete the assessment.

Mobile apps

Pros:

  • Greater functionality as they have access to system resources
  • Can work offline
  • Better integration with wearables like Fitbit etc.

Cons:

  • Expensive to maintain and update
  • Need separate apps for different platforms like iOS, Android
  • Participants have to download and install the app

Web apps

Pros:

  • Very flexible and easier to make changes
  • Participants don't need to download or install any app
  • Cross-platform - works on all devices

Cons:

  • Requires internet
  • Less powerful in terms of features
As we can see, web-based platforms are suitable for studies where internet connectivity is not an issue, and you don't want to burden the participant by asking them to download any software. Apps, on the other hand, have more features and can work even with no or unstable internet.


Our web-based EMA platform has helped various researchers focus on their study's critical aspects without worrying about the software. We provide the simplest way to get your Experience Sampling study up and running.

We're soon launching an Android app with more features and a better experience! Stay tuned!