There are multitudes of ways and approaches to create an app. It can vary from the technology and technique point of view. Unless you take a closer look, it can be misleading to assume that all mobile apps are developed in the same manner.
When it boils down to app design and development, there are three broad categories: Native apps, Cross-Platform apps, and Mobile Responsive websites. They all have their advantages and disadvantages. It is crucial to understand which app development strategy is ideal for reaching your business goals. This blog will help you in deciphering the logic behind using each methodology and when you shouldn’t go for them.
Mobile Responsive Websites
These are a lighter version of mobile apps, and the credit goes to the responsive design layout that can easily mold to different screen resolutions, these apps are designed to mimic the approach of mobile apps. This allows them to perform way better than conventional websites in terms of attracting more traffic and hassle-free customer journey. Let us see how do they fare in comparison to other mobile-friendly app options.
This is the most cost-effective and the quickest option to create out of the three app options. This approach infuses fluidity in the existing website framework by changing the grids, setting images to adapt to new resolutions automatically, and redesigning other layout changes. These apps are mostly accessed from the browser and don’t have to conform to the iOS and Android guidelines. You also don’t have to worry about the distribution through the respective app store.
The biggest downside of a mobile responsive website is that it is highly dependent on the internet connection. If your users are often subject to no to low internet connectivity environment, you better not go for this option. Also, since the app does not follow any of the OS guidelines, the GPS, voice, camera, and video features that are standard to most mobile apps become less intuitive and sluggish. The performance is further affected by the fact that if the page is not completely downloaded, it will fail to load images and animations. It is also not built for the app monetization strategy.
Cross-Platform, as the name suggests, is the next level in the evolution of mobile-friendly apps and is meant to build mobile apps that can work multiple platforms like iOS, Android using the same code base. This approach uses technologies like ReactNative, AngularNative, Flutter or Appcelerator, etc. Let’s see what it has to offer.
This approach involves creating an app that acts like a native app but costs less than a native app development as it can work across multiple platforms. Though it comparatively costs more than a mobile responsive site development, it offers far greater capabilities that are independent of user’s internet connectivity. You can reuse the same code for multiple platforms, which makes it fast to build. Just like a mobile-friendly site, it is independent of the native OS and related bugs and maintenance issues. On the contrary, it requires fewer efforts to fix the problem.
From the user point of view, the app experience might be a downer in the case of cross-platform applications. The very fact that it is built to perform across mobile platforms it compromises on its intuitiveness.
Also, these apps are known to suffer from compatibility issues with certain native design elements, features, and functionalities. Cross-platform apps that are built heavily using HTML5/CSS3 are prone to poor performance as they consume a lot of computing power and don’t seamlessly integrate with the native operating system. Cross-platform technologies are being developed at a faster rate every year. Still, in this race to build cutting edge technology, the newer frameworks often ignore support (e.g., libraries) for older versions, making them obsolete.
Out of the three app development options, the native app version is the most extensive one. The application is created, keeping in mind the specifics of the operating system and is built to leverage the device’s features. So what makes it the best option of the lot?
The ultimate aim of the native app is top-notch performance. The application is built around to suit the best practices, code, design, features of the specific operating system. It allows the app to deliver a better user experience and run faster in comparison to the other two options since it utilizes the device’s existing capabilities.
It’s a time-intensive option, and you need to invest in two apps if you want your application to be accessible on Apple and Google app stores. Also, these apps are high in maintenance and require you to stay on top of the latest issues and bugs to ensure they are running smoothly.
Each approach offers a unique solution for a particular case scenario and can help tackle a business challenge. Ace has worked on all three types of technology approaches and can help you decide which method will work best for you.