One of the most common points to be considered while working around mobility is the question of what medium works best. There are three kinds of app development platforms available.

The first is the Native application, which refers to applications that are coded in the native language of the device. For instance, this would involve using Objective C to code for iOS and Java, for android. The second is the Web application, where the coding is in HTML, CSS and Java Script. They are served through the Internet and are run through a browser. Thirdly, blending the two into one, is the Hybrid version, where the coding is done through HTML, CSS and Java Script, and are run through an invisible browser.

UNDERSTANDING EACH

Fundamentally, Native Apps are what typically come to mind when one talks of an App. For example, iTunes is specific to the iOS, or to Apple iPhones. It can’t be seen in an Android phone. This is because they are so specifically coded for a given platform that they cannot be adapted beyond it.

Then comes the mobile optimised web app, where the interface is pretty much a mobile version of a given website. A web app is pretty much a shortcut that is taken on the phone’s screen, to open a web page quickly. This way, they don’t store or install packets of data. They require an internet connection, necessarily, and are generally much slower and far less intuitive. Web apps are designed for every platform only once, so they don’t function as an app.

The third of this kind are hybrid apps, which are coded in such a way that they can be deployed across multiple platforms all at once. The app is built in such a way that it is compatible across multiple web technologies, such as HTML5, CSS and Java Script. A lot of work goes into running each platform. When the user accesses the web content online, using a hybrid app, the interactions tend to differ.

THE PROS AND CONS

Relying on the Web Application instead, offers the advantage of a good first step. The website is both easy to build and change on a whim, and accessibility is something that occurs across platforms. There is no requirement to download anything, which makes it easy to use. But on the downside, they don’t offer a user experience, and are better for casual visitors and not to engage with users. There is also the fact that it necessarily requires the precondition of Internet connectivity and necessarily needs responsiveness and mobile-friendly technologies like HTML5.

The Native Mobile App offers up a lot of advantages. One being that a mobile app is a route for engagement, and can considerably pivot customer retention into something advantageous for the organisation. They also offer, therefore, control over the user experience. What remains the crown jewel is that they don’t need the Internet as a website will require, so they work just as well where low bandwidth subsists. On the flip side, they are device-specific, and this makes it difficult to import it across forums. Moreover, they need to be constantly updated and developed.

The Hybrid App will help break the development trade-off, but the downside is that it offers a light application. The second advantage is that it brings the best of both worlds into the platform, and creates room for users to engage with the app, across forums. The downside is that it may have low features that don’t necessarily create a great user experience, and there is a chance that the updates to a given interface or platform may not be easy to match in the development process.

Regardless of everything, the use of a platform should be defined, as a rule, depending on the needs of the user and the solution that the proposed app is going to provide. Using an app may be a good way to stay on top of things, but unless it comes with a utility dimension that offers a tangible advantage, it wouldn’t make sense to blindly invest in the development of a mobile solution.