So look. The mobile world is booming, and the world says everyone has to have a mobile application. The problem is, you may not have the time, money, or resources to make the leap to a native mobile application. So what do you do? Do you go hybrid? Well, maybe, but that has it’s own can of worms. Do you just say forget it and do nothing? HECK NO!!!!!! Do you say, well I already have a web application, maybe I should just optimize it for mobile? This is a very good option. You can still use the resources you have in house while also using much of the same codebase. There is just one problem…It’s still not native. Now that’s not a huge problem when it comes to your application functionality, because you may not need any native device features, but it does pose a problem when it comes down to user experience.
Native vs Web (Mobile UX)
So native applications get all the cool stuff. A user can go to the Google Play Store and search for the app they want, then click on install, and BOOM!!!!! Now your shiny new app is sitting on the user’s home screen in all of it’s glory, and that app continues to be at their fingertips until they uninstall it. Now historically with a web app, a user may use Android’s Google Search widget to find a web app or they may just enter the web app’s url in a browser. At this point, they may decide to bookmark the url or just do nothing. This forces them to open up their browser, and enter the web app’s url every time they want to use your web app, and that’s definitely not as easy as just clicking an icon on your home screen.
Do you remember how you re-engaged users when it came to web apps? Through email. You sent out an email saying “Hey User, We love you. Come back”. At that point you hope it made it through the spam filter, and you hope it didn’t get buried in the thousands of other emails they received. What about native apps? Well, you just send them a push notification. Push notifications are quick and straight to the point, and let’s not forget they are touch magnets. I think it’s built in all humans DNA to check and touch every push notification we receive. With a push notification you really don’t have to worry about if a user has seen your message. Mostly likely they have, and if they don’t re-engage, then it’s probably because your app just isn’t that good :). At any rate. Native applications have it easy when it comes to engaging users.
Yo! Web apps are dope when it comes to amazing user interfaces, even in the mobile browser. The problem has always been in how web apps have been presented, basically in the center of a browser that already has it’s own design. Native applications get the luxury of having their own shell which makes for a tight and cohesive design.
So the question now becomes. How do we get a Native Android experience without having a native app?