A successful mobile strategy can certainly contribute to a business's success in today's digital world. It is challenging to decide on the right approach with so many factors. A significant decision point in early initiatives is between building a native app or with the mobile web.
What is a Native App?
Native apps are generally built as platform specific. It is developed using the programming language and development environment of the forum. Native apps are stored directly on the user's device and can be downloaded from an app store. Native apps can provide offline access, meaning they can be used without an internet connection.
What is Mobile Web?
The mobile web refers to websites designed to be viewed on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Mobile web is an alternative to native apps and can be accessed by simply opening a web browser and entering a URL. Mobile web is typically faster and easier to develop than native apps and can be used on multiple platforms. However, the mobile web cannot access all the device's features.
Why & Why Not Native App?
Native apps are designed to provide the best user experience and be optimized for their respective operating system. With native apps, users can enjoy a seamless experience, taking full advantage of the device's features and capabilities. Native apps are designed to be reliable and secure, with fewer bugs than other applications. Native apps have the advantage of being closer to the phone's hardware, making local tasks faster and providing more access to certain phone features. Searching for you out on the app store and downloading to the phone is a commitment compared to visiting a URL.
Native apps provide superior performance compared to other mobile applications. They are built using native programming languages and APIs, allowing users a smoother and faster experience. Native is the way to go for games. The accelerometer is generally unavailable on websites. Their high level of performance also ensures a better user experience, as native apps can quickly process commands without any latency. The act of downloading is a positive for companies with more clout. Once it's downloaded, it stays and may lead to more loyalty.
3.Provide Offline Acess
A native app is a great way to ensure that users can access content offline. This is an advantage that many people overlook when looking into mobile web applications, but with a native app, you can cache videos and files for use off-grid. Offline access is one of the biggest positives of having a native app—allowing users to access only local features at all times.
4.Integration with Other Apps
Native apps are practical tools as they can easily integrate with other apps installed on the device. This integration allows for a more seamless and integrated experience for the user, providing them with enhanced convenience and control. For example, when a native app is installed, it can easily access the user's contacts, calendar, or music library. This is what makes native apps so unique. NFC (how apple pay works) is an alternative-only only feature.
1.Development & Maintenance Costs
Developing a native app is not as simple as it may seem. It requires specialized skills and an experienced development team to ensure the app works as expected on all platforms. This will cost more than other mobile applications, and the maintenance costs will also be higher. Continuous development, testing, and updates are essential to keep the native app compatible with new operating system versions, which may require the creation of different versions for different operating systems. These costs should be considered before investing in a native app. Developing and maintaining native apps can be cozy and are worth the investment.
2.App Store Approval
Native apps must go through a review process to be approved for distribution through an app store. It can be a time-consuming process, and no matter how long you wait, there is no guarantee that your native app will be approved. This con of native apps can be a significant issue for businesses that rely heavily on their app for marketing or sales. Once approved, the app can still be pulled from the store if any issues are found. This can hinder user trust and make it difficult for businesses to build customer loyalty.
3.Update & Deployment Challenges
Updating a native app requires it to be re-submitted to the app store for approval, which can be time-consuming and may disrupt service for the app's users. Additionally, deploying updates to many users can take time and effort, further complicating the update process. Even minor updates can take days or weeks, frustrating the developer and user. This can lead to a less desirable user experience and isn't something you want for your app. Moreover, if the app store changes its review process, it could add to the time needed for an update to be approved. On DevOps and the deployment, side can be challenging.
Native apps are only available on one specific platform, meaning that users from other platforms cannot access and use the app. This can be a massive roadblock for businesses and developers hoping to reach as many people as possible with their products or service. This could limit the potential reach and audience of the app. If a business wants to target users from multiple platforms, native apps may not be the best option.
Why & Why Not Mobile Web?
Optimizing your website for mobile devices can help you reach a much larger audience than before. For example, mobile devices are much easier to access and use on the go due to their portability and ease of use. This means that people can access your website from anywhere with an internet connection, which significantly increases your website's reach.
The mobile web is a powerful tool that offers businesses increased customer engagement. With the help of this platform, companies can provide location-based services and other interactive features that make the customer experience much more enjoyable. This can help build relationships between businesses and customers and create a sense of loyalty. For example, push notifications to inform customers of new deals or promotions, while location-based services provide relevant content and discounts near their current location.
Mobile web development is a cost-effective solution for businesses looking to expand their reach and increase visibility in the digital space. Compared to native app development, it requires less time and money, making it a more attractive option. It is much cheaper to build, given the ubiquity of any web developer and Python and NodeJS. Furthermore, mobile websites are easier to maintain and update, making them an excellent long-term investment that can help companies stay ahead of their competition.
4.Easy to Push Changes
Building a mobile website for your desktop web has a significant advantage in eliminating the need to create three versions of the same - native x 2 and web. This makes pushing changes without users needing to update their apps more accessible and faster. With the mobile website, all users get the updated experience immediately. This means they don't have to wait for updates but can access the new features as soon as they are available. The mobile website also offers convenience since users can quickly and easily access the website from anywhere in the world.
The mobile web has limited functionality, making it difficult or even impossible to implement features such as offline access and complex animations. This isn't to say that the mobile web isn't helpful – far from it! It can be invaluable for specific tasks, but if you're looking for something more advanced, then a native app is probably the better choice. Do you need a simple solution with limited functionality? The mobileweb might be ideal for you. Or do you require something more complex? If so, a native app should do the trick.
2.Slow Loading Time
Slow loading times for mobile websites can be hugely frustrating for users and is often a significant factor in them abandoning your website. If a website takes more than 3 seconds to load, it's estimated that 53% of mobile users will leave the page. This has a direct effect on the user experience and can have a damaging impact on the success of your website. As such, ensuring your mobile web pages are optimized as fast as possible is essential. This could include reducing the size of data-heavy images or using lazy loading techniques to ensure users can see the content they want.
Mobile web can be vulnerable to security threats like hacking and malware. As the number of mobile devices increases, the risk of hacking and malware attacks also increases. Your mobile website may be vulnerable to malicious activities if it isn't adequately secured. It is essential to ensure your mobile website with appropriate measures to protect any sensitive user data. This can include using encryption technology, secure passwords, and regularly updating your operating system software.
4.Less Access to Advanced Features
One of the main disadvantages of the mobile web is that it provides less access to advanced phone features. Because the data and usage are coming from your server, you must always have an internet connection. If your app does not provide apparent consistent value that prompts users to re-type the URL, they may lose interest in the service and stop returning. You can generally access GPS, microphone, and camera via mobile web, but it can sometimes be clumsy.
Regarding mobile development, a few solutions can help you avoid the downsides of each approach. If you're going with a mobile web app, consider creating an app "links" that look and feel like an actual app on your home screen. These nifty shortcuts will take you straight to your webpage in the browser, keeping you engaged and making it easy to pick up where you left off. Suppose you're building an app that doesn't require Fort Knox-level security. You could even use a UUID to log in users and provide a personalized experience without the hassle of typing in their credentials every time. But what if you want to create a mobile app that's less expensive and more versatile than a traditional native app? Look no further than React Native, a robust framework built on NodeJS that allows you to develop your app using website-style technology and deploy it as a native app on iOS and Android. Say goodbye to server issues and pesky user updates – with React Native, you're covered. It's a more affordable solution than going full native, and while it requires an internet connection, it's the perfect way to take your mobile development game to the next level.
Choosing your mobile development strategy is a big deal – it's not a decision to be taken lightly, because the cost of switching from one approach to another can be staggering. I've given you a lot to think about already, but the truth is that your situation is entirely unique. That's why I'm here to help you – I've built countless MVPs in both modalities and have the expertise you need to make an informed decision. Don't hesitate to reach out if you want more insights and ideas – I'm here to guide you every step of the way.