2101 views

With high costs, long development times, and team complexity, are native apps really where it’s at? When you look at the versatility of HTML5, the growth of new frameworks to improve web app performance, and the fragmentation of OSs and platforms, is developing a native app always the best solution?

 

We cannot emphasize it enough. Today’s digital strategy has to be mobile and reflect the fact that the smartphone, tablet, or connected objects are at the very center of our everyday lives. There are three tactics to integrate a mobile solution into your core strategy: native apps, web apps or hybrid apps. When embarking on your first application, the choice between one or other of these three options will both determine and depend on your objectives.

I will not go into detail here about the specifics of each solution. The discussion today is about the benefits of native apps. There are three main reasons for abandoning native app development:

They are not used

It is estimated that an average of only six applications are used on a smartphone. As we already mentioned in a previous post, there is therefore little chance that your target user will actually use your app. In a company, the problem is the same: unless you give and make all of your employees use select mobile devices, any productivity app is going to have to deal with device fragmentation.

However, we also know that the success of an app depends on its usefulness and effectiveness. Utility: if your app features the functions your user expects, then it meets a need and offers value.This is especially true in a BtoB market or when creating an app to improve the workflow of a company’s employees. Efficiency: ergonomics and user experience are a key factor for an app’s success.We know, for example, that 60% of users are disappointed by the experience they have with their mobile app.This is true despite the fact that native apps offer the best possible user experience by taking advantage of the device’s power and specific characteristics.

 

They are costly and resource intensive

The budget is undoubtedly the weak point of these apps compared with web apps, which are easy and fast to develop: you need highly-skilled teams and to duplicate your app development if you want to make it available for several ecosystems. Developing in HTML5 is simpler.

Except that…Solutions exist to reduce the total cost, control its skills needs and resources, streamline the production workflow.

 

Their development is long

From conception to publication, production of a native app takes several weeks. Today, marketing and business lines need to react quickly, be flexible and adapt their service offerings to the ever-changing needs of their users.

However, developing a mobile app takes longer because you need to think through the ergonomics to offer a better user experience, about how to leverage functions specific to each device, and how to connect the app to the company’s back-office.

I could go on to point out maintenance difficulties with native apps, their limited life span, the fragmentation of OSs and platforms, and more. So should we stop developing native apps in favor of web apps?

 

The user experience is key

To put a final nail in the coffin of the eternal question of native app vs. web app, just remember one thing: the choice between one or the other should depend solely on your users’ needs. The goal of any application—native or web—is to create a virtuous interaction by offering the user a valuable service and the best possible user experience, depending on how the app is being used. While it is true that a native app is ideal for designing an optimal user experience, we first need to ask ourselves if the context of use requires such an optimal experience… The response is often found in the ergonomics of the application, so that the user can get where he or she wants in two seconds and two taps. Feature-rich interaction comes after simplicity.

So should we stop developing native apps? Of course not. I admit, this is the wrong question. The world of mobility is changing, constantly evolving. Today, we no longer program the same way we did yesterday. The tools are changing. So are methodologies and working processes.

 

Rethink working methods

Faced with device, OS and technology fragmentation, Wakanda’s vision is to work with all of these solutions to simplify and streamline the production of mobile, hybrid, or web applications. To do this, our platform relies on existing solutions with frameworks like Angular, Cordova, and Ionic—all of which are also redefining the application landscape. It keeps your company technology-independent by setting up your development framework side-by-side with its integration to your back office and gives you the option to publish your app on the cloud and your servers.

The key is not whether you should develop a native app or not. It is to focus on your application prototyping to design its ergonomics, to validate the features that will be useful for your user and to reach your goal: improve your interactions with your customer or your co-workers.