The debate whether apps should be native to each platform or be universally available via a web browser is still running and it has taken interesting twists and turns along the way – some already conceded defeat, others are willing to give the opposing approach a shot. Yet, we’re still convinced native is the way to go when developing mobile apps for business.
Why, you might ask?
The simple answer would be that, because 86% of all mobile users prefer native apps to the web browser apps. A longer answer consists of three crucial reasons which make clear why native apps continue to provide superior user experience.
Information should be persistent
So that it remains always accessible up until the last synchronization or download. Most web apps only work when connected to the internet and even though 3G and 4G networks continue to expand, they are, by far, not available universally – we still have areas with hardly any signal coverage at all. In other words, users appreciate when they can access their data and the app’s functionality even when offline and native apps enable them to achieve just that.
Even if internet connectivity is not an issue, processing speeds and the promptness of the native user interface can’t be emulated in the same fashion on the web. Web apps interact with the browser, which then communicates with the device’s OS. Therefore, compared to native apps, which talk directly to the OS, there’s an additional layer in which web apps have to go through. It makes them inevitably slower and clumsier and further drives users towards native applications.
Not just a desktop appendage
The most successful apps aren’t just straightforward translations of desktop features to mobile devices. They combine them with device-specific capabilities that are simply out of reach for web apps. Incorporating the underlying native technologies like phone modules, GPS navigations, cameras, push notifications is often the differentiator that makes it worth it for companies to invest in a mobile solution.
And even though web apps are getting new workarounds to access some of these native features, the user experience is not the same. As one of our customers told us after trying custom development for their mobile CRM solution, before turning to Resco: “The result turned out to be more of a container for the web browser application with limited functionality on a touchscreen device – not a native mobile application.”
What’s next for web apps?
Even though the above suggests a clear win for native applications there’s still place for web apps. For the occasionally used services, most users probably won’t be interested in installing an app on their device. A web app can also be a viable backup option when a device gets lost, stolen or broken so that users are able to continue working from another machine. Plus, when considering that various SDKs (software development kits) allow developers to blend web into native functionality (and vice versa), the question should probably focus more on the degree of use and fit for the task.
However, for mobile professionals, the native apps are still the most beneficial option. After all, sales reps, field technicians, and other users of Resco Mobile CRM frequently spend their working time on the road where full offline functionality and instant access to information is necessary for delivering outstanding customer service. Not to mention that, features like phone call tracking, route planning, or QR and barcode scanning make the utility of CRM even easier to use.