More and more brands have been launching their own apps. The decision to develop an app opens up a new way to connect with consumers. However, with different types of apps that can be developed, including hybrid and native, it is not always clear what direction a brand should choose.
Because users treasure their mobile phones and the mobile experience, it is important to take the consumer’s interaction with the app seriously. One report indicates that only 16% of users will give an app more than two chances to work. If they continue to have a poor experience, most users will opt not to use the app again. Therefore it is important to consider how to ensure a user gets the most from your app.
It is also important to consider what your brand wants in an app. Depending on what you want to do, you may need to answer some questions before you decide on your mobile app strategy.
Here are the benefits and drawbacks between a native app and a hybrid app.
A hybrid app is a cross between a mobile web page and a native app. When a user selects this type of app from the app store, some of it is downloaded as a native app and some is downloaded as a web page.
One of the major benefits of a hybrid app is that it is cheaper to design. The fact that it only uses one code set is another advantage. A native app, on the other hand, needs to be coded for the specific operating system (Android or iOS).
Thus a hybrid app can be launched onto any operating system, making it versatile in the mobile market. This also makes it the choice for brands who want to get their app released quickly.
However, a major drawback of a hybrid app is that it will not look and feel like the other apps a user is used to, which means they may need a little extra time to adjust to how it functions. This can lead to frustration for the user and a higher chance they may stop using the app.
The reason behind this is that iOS and Android both have a specific look and feel for their apps that are slightly different from each other. Users will notice a difference when you introduce a hybrid app as you won’t be able to design it to the full specifications to please both users.
Another drawback of a hybrid app is that while it can access the functions of a phone, like the camera or GPS, it does not always run as smoothly as a native app.
A native app is one that has been developed for a specific operating system (Android or iOS). While a hybrid app has only one code set, a native app can have several, depending on which platform you are launching it on.
One of the long-standing advantages of a native app has been the smooth user experience. Because it has been designed within the confines of a specific OS, it has a similar feel to the other apps and is familiar to users. This means they will be able to pick up how to use it quickly.
A native app also interacts with a phone’s functions, like the connects or camera, much more easily than a hybrid app.
However, because the app gets designed for a specific operating system, it will need to be re-coded for each platform (Android, iOS, Windows, etc). This can be a time consuming and expensive investment.
Before your brand can decide what app is right for the project, you need to be clear on what you want to accomplish and what you are willing to compromise on.
Getting an app designed quickly and cost-effectively, with low-maintenance updates, are the top reasons organizations or businesses opt for a hybrid app.
However, if offering the best user experience tops your list you will want to go for a native app. While having the best user experience could benefit your company by developing customer loyalty, the design process for a native app is longer and costs more.
It will also be important to be clear on what features you want your app to have. If there is the potential that you want it to access some of the device’s functions like camera or contacts, it is advisable to go with a native app. While these features can be worked into a hybrid app, it is not as smooth as a native app design.
Some brands opt to try both as a test of the mobile market. You may want to start off with a hybrid app and see if it is successful. This also allows you to gauge the user experience and see what features may need to be added or tweaked. If you find it is worthwhile you can always design a native app later on.
Entering the app market may be a relatively easy decision for a brand but moving forward with a strategy may not be so clear cut.
However, by deciding on what your want your app to do and what elements top your list, moving forward with an app design, whether it is hybrid or native, will become easier for you and your designer.
Also published on Medium.