The Great Mobile Debate: Native Apps vs. HTML 5
Below are some key considerations to ensure the delivery of a high-quality user experience and the achievement of business goals when choosing to develop either a Web or native app:
- Platform Integration: Does your content need to be integrated with other native apps on the device—such as email, cameras, contact lists or other hardware controls? If so, only a native app can access these device items.
- Usage Location: Evaluate how and where the content will be used. If it needs to be accessed in an environment without Internet access, like a trail guide for a national park, a native app is essential.
- Cost and Availability of Resources: Think about your app development budget. Keep in mind that to create a Web app, only knowledge of standard Web technologies, such as HTML and CSS, is required. When coding native apps, expertise in various SDKs and lesser-known, specialized languages—such as Objective-C or Python—are necessary.
- Speed to Market: How quickly are you trying to launch your app? With Web apps, the launch is not delayed by the typical native app review process, which can take a week to several months. Also, content can be exactly as the provider specifies—without concern for distribution requirements often imposed by various App stores.
- Content Updates: Will you need to update your content with breaking news or new products? With mobile Web apps, content and graphics can be easily and quickly updated, swapped out and rearranged using a content management system. Alternatively, for a native app, content updates must be re-coded and re-deployed, which can be quite time-consuming and costly.
The reasons for choosing to develop a Web app or native app ultimately come down to your company’s business objectives and how you want your customers to engage with your company and its content. Most importantly, always remember that it’s your customer who is the target—not the device.