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How To Choose A Mobile App Best Suited For Your Company

Monday, April 24, 2017
mobile apps

Why a Mobile App?

 

As Matt Galligan, former CEO of Circa News, put it “The future of mobile is the future of everything”. Currently users spend 90% of their time in apps as compared to a mobile website, as shown by Smart Insights, this means that this constantly growing connection with their mobile devices can only increase the opportunities your business has to reach them.

 

Mobile app usage

 

Mobile apps can include easily updated content, multiple branding opportunities with the visual real estate you now have on their devices, and will allow for features such as push notifications.

 

What Types of Mobile Apps Are Out There

There are three types of mobile apps, Native Apps, Hybrid Apps, and Mobile Websites. Let’s go over each type and talk about the advantages and disadvantage of each.

 

Native Apps

Native apps are what people think of when they initially think of mobile apps. They are accessed through an icon on the device, and often do not need internet connection to work.

 

Native apps can be a bit of a hassle as they have to be created individually for each operating system, and may have to completed in different sizes for different device, like smartphone vs. a tablet. This means if you want your app to be in the Apple Store and the Google Play Store, two separate versions of the app will have to be created. It also means any updates that have to be completed will have to be done on each separate platform as well. This is also why this type of app is typically the most expensive to develop and maintain.

 

However, if done right you can have amazing results; native apps do have the highest performance out of the three options, leading to the best user experience. They allow for close integration into the operating system of the device, meaning they can access features like the camera, geolocation, gyroscope, and the accelerometer.

 

Hybrid Apps

The next type of app is a hybrid app. This, as it’s name suggests, is a hybrid between a mobile website and a native app. These apps are accessed through an icon on the device, but may require an internet connection for any links to web pages. In a sense it is a mobile website in a native app’s clothing. They are often existing web pages put into an app, for a company to get a presence in the app store and amongst users mobile devices.

 

Hybrid apps can be a bit slower than a native app as it is pulling cached information from the device as well as from the online server, and this can take away from the overall user experience of the app. While it can use many functions on the device, similar to the native apps, there are some limitations to its ability to integrate with the operating system.

 

Hybrid apps do not require the apps to be created completely separately for each operating system as many of the components during the development processed can be shared amongst different operating systems, although certain components do have to created separately. This will put the cost somewhere in between the native and mobile websites.

 

Mobile Website

On the other end of the spectrum, mobile websites are very different from native apps. Mobile websites are essentially responsive web pages that open in a device’s browser, this would mean that these apps require internet connection.

 

Mobile websites will allow for little integration into the operating system with access to features like geolocation, and sometimes the camera. Mobile websites will also not allow for any app store presence as there is no physical app to download onto a device.

 

Web websites tend to cost the least, which can work on all operating systems with very few to no differences, aside from small design changes. This can make them easier to update later on as one change will update the site on all platforms.

 

What Type is Best for My Business

 

As with most business practices, what is best for your business may be different from someone else’s. It is important to evaluate what your company’s goals and objectives for your app and decide on a price point for the development of the app. Additionally, and likely the most important factor, is the how you want to interact with your customers, an app is all about the experience the user has.

 

What’s Next?

We would be happy to help bring your idea to life and ensure your app produces and ROI. Here is our process for creating mobile apps:

Research and Discovery

In this initial phase we will work on defining your goals and hold brainstorming and discovery sessions. During this stage we may also conduct user research in the form of surveys and interviews.

 

Strategy and Experience

Taking what we learned from the previous stage we will begin to develop user personas, empathy maps and experience maps to better identify with the users. As a part of user experience design and strategy we will also put together the user flow, information architecture, sitemaps, and compiling user stories.

 

User-Centered Design

This will involve initial concept sketching, designing wireframes, building clickable prototypes, and ultimately visual design.

 

Application Development

In this stage we will take the information gathered in the previous stages and begin the actual development of the application, now that we have a complete design and specification document.

 

Conclusions

Deciding what type of app to create for you company can make or break how your users see your brand. We would be happy to help you out with that process. You can contact us or request a quote for app development on our quote request form.

In the meantime let’s break down that information a bit:

 

Type

Advantages

Disadvantages

Native Apps

  • Highest Performance
  • High level of integration to device’s features
  • Has to be created and updated separately for each OS
  • Most expensive

Hybrid Apps

  • Shared development components for different OS
  • Moderate cost
  • Runs slower than native
  • Limited integration to device’s feature

Mobile Website

  • Easily updated across all devices
  • Costs the least
  • Very little integration to device’s features
  • No app store presence
  • Requires internet connection