Your Essential Guide to Deciding Your App’s Format
So you want to build an app. You know what value you want to provide your users, what burning need your app will fill. In choosing to build an app, you are making a great business decision; mobile browsing has now passed traditional laptop/desktop browsing.1 And as the number of platforms for mobile access increases, mobile usage will continue to skyrocket.
But now you need to answer the crucial question: native or hybrid? There are several factors you need to consider before you decide which format is best for your particular app idea. Let’s start by reviewing the features of both options, then walk through the evaluation process.
A native app is platform-specific; it’s designed for a particular platform, and therefore follows the user-experience guidelines of that platform. This means that your users will have the same functionalities with your app as they would have with any of the apps that came with the device. It also means a seamless transition for users: no learning curve. Once they know how to use their devices, they will know how to use your app. This is a big plus in user satisfaction, which is always good for business.
Here are some of the benefits of a native app:
So the native app sounds terrific. But there are some drawbacks:
What kinds of apps are best native? Games, high-performance applications where the screen is changing frequently, and apps that include highly interactive reporting or intense computational algorithms are best created as native apps. They will need the speed, flexibility, and instant access of information in order to operate at their optimum level and provide the highest level of user experience.
As with native apps, there are drawbacks to hybrid, and they all involve user experience:
What kinds of apps are best as hybrids? Generally, apps that do not require high-speed calculations, images, graphics, or animation might function fine as hybrids. Certainly, apps that have a static screen with very few elements would be good as hybrids. Additionally, apps that require access to large amounts of data or need frequent updating would be better as hybrids. Apps for mobile banking, social media, and buying movie tickets are usually hybrids.
But which App is best for me?
You may by now know exactly which app type is best for you. If so, it’s time to consult your development team. If not, take some time to consider these questions:
Do you want to have the best user experience?
The answer to this, of course, is an unequivocal yes. Who wouldn’t? So the level of complexity of your app will determine which kind of app will give you the highest user experience. And user experience is crucial; a survey by Compuware showed that 79% of users will only try an app once or twice if it fails to work. Only 16% will give it a third try.3 Users don’t have patience with apps that aren’t perfect. Remember, for many of them, mobile use is their primary way of interacting with the online world. They will dump you for a better app if they sense any imperfection. This is why having the very best developers is crucial. Think about your own experiences: when you use an app, you want it to fire up immediately; you want to be able to do things with it that you’re used to doing with your other apps; you don’t want to be locked out of your information because some server crashed; you want your animation, graphics, and computations to be quick; and you want to interface with your other apps. So if you want these things from your own apps, won’t your users want it from yours?
If your app does not need complex functionalities, if you don’t need pinch-spread, graphics, or access to the other apps on the device, hybrid may be just fine. However, most apps require more than the basics. Hybrid is trying to catch up, but it may never be equal. James Long, senior web developer at Mozilla, admits, “The web isn’t close to competing with higher-end native apps…. When companies want to develop a beautiful, ground-breaking app, they choose native.” 4
What is your budget?
If you have the time and the budget to develop separate Android and iOS versions of your app, by all means, go native! But if your budget is limited, you may have to sacrifice some functionality and go hybrid.
How much time do you have?
If time is of the essence—for example, you’re playing catch-up to a competitor, or this app is crucial for your company’s interaction with clients—you may want to develop a basic hybrid app for now. If you need capabilities that are not ideal with hybrid, you can either tweak it later (probably at significant cost and questionable success) or replace it entirely with a native app later. Again, some progress is being made to improve the intersection of hybrids with native functionalities. Your development team can tell you if the patches have been developed to do what YOU want to do. And this leads to the next question:
How do you choose your app developer?
Not everyone has a development team on staff. Most people have to hire one. There are many excellent services out there, but how do you know who is best for you? Here are some things to look for:
The face of web interface is changing, and apps are at the forefront of that change. It’s crucial that your app creates the very best possible user experience. The happier users are with your app, the more likely they are to recommend it to friends and family. Take the time and expense to build the best app you possibly can.
PUMEX Technologies (pumextech.com) has emerged as a leading provider of Mobile Application Development by consistently enhancing the competencies that are vital to bringing innovation to the rapidly growing mobile space.
We have built groundbreaking mobile applications for both iOS and Android platforms (hybrid and native).
PUMEX'S mobile portfolio clearly reflects the five cornerstones of success in the mobile world: originality, innovation, creativity, versatility, and vision. Have an idea for an app? Contact us today (215) 734 1999 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org
1 “Mobile Now Exceeds PC: The Biggest Shift Since the Internet Began,” Search Engine Watch, July 8, 2014 https://searchenginewatch.com/sew/opinion/2353616/mobile-now-exceeds-pc-the-biggest-shift-since-the-internet-began
2 Doug Olenick, “Apple iOS and Google Android Smartphone Market Share Flattening: IDC,” Forbes, May 27, 2015 http://www.forbes.com/sites/dougolenick/2015/05/27/apple-ios-and-google-android-smartphone-market-share-flattening-idc/2/#364d4090194f
3 Compuware, “Mobile Apps: What Consumers Really Need and Want” https://info.dynatrace.com/rs/compuware/images/Mobile_App_Survey_Report.pdf
4 James Long, “Radical Statements about the Mobile Web,” Feb. 20, 2015 http://jlongster.com/Radical-Statements-about-the-Mobile-Web
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