Categories: Developers / Mobile Apps
A great mobile app is all about great user experience. The majority of users won’t give a poor app a second try. And almost none will give it the benefit of the doubt twice.
When it comes to the question of native vs hybrid apps, the answer almost always comes down to user experience. Sure, hybrid apps may seem like a solid all-in-one solution. After all, they let you push a product across multiple platforms. That’s a better solution that building a separate app for each platform, right?
From your perspective, perhaps. But the convenience from your end doesn’t necessarily translate into the ideal user experience. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why native apps are usually a better choice than hybrid apps.
Native vs hybrid apps: quality of experience
Native apps are built using the language, conventions and overall look and feel of a given platform. Hybrid apps, on the other hand, are basically websites overlaid with the veneer of a native app.
A hybrid app may work just fine, but it typically won’t have the intuitive nature of a native app. Whether you’re an iPhone or Android user, you have certain expectations about how quickly things should load, what they should look like and how they should function.
Simple things like headline alignment and gesture behavior differ between platforms. Sure, breaking norms won’t necessarily ruin the user experience, but it will add “friction”. And friction is the difference between a good app and a great app – and too often, between a native app and a hybrid app.
A native app behaves the way that users expect, meaning that they don’t have to think about what they’re doing. They can just enjoy going along for the ride.
Native vs hybrid apps: a question of performance
When it comes to performance, native apps get to claim the mantle. Native apps are inherently faster and more reliable. They’re built upon elements and assets that already exist on your phone. This makes for a quick and effortless user experience.
Hybrid apps, on the other hand, only exist partially on a user’s phone. To use the app, they need to download it as you go. Here’s where external factors can have a huge impact on the experience of your app. Server requests and how those requests are balanced can make for a slow experience. And in today’s world, slow is only a hair’s breadth away from non-functional.
While for basic apps the difference in performance may be negligible, you’ll notice it for larger apps. And when it’s your business on the line, why risk it?
Native vs hybrid apps: but what about the costs?
From a cost perspective, we can see the appeal of hybrid apps. You only have one code base to maintain, and pushing updates is easy. Plus rolling out hybrid code is cheaper, faster and easier than building a native app from scratch.
But remember that coming out ahead on up-front costs doesn’t necessarily mean coming out ahead overall. The benefit of a native app is in the user experience – and user experience is what matters to your app’s success. If a fast, intuitive, reliable app means that users spend their time and money on your app, you’ve won the game.
On the other hand, the initial cost savings of going hybrid may end up costing you users – and profits.