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Why enterprises are going for hybrid apps over native apps

Everybody has played Angry Birds. It could be on an iPhone, iPad or an Android phone or tablet. If you haven’t, chances are you will pretty soon. The reason is the tremendous growth of the smart phones and tablets in the market, and the fondness that we humans have inculcated now for great UI experience and interactivity in mobile apps.


Angry Birds is the perfect example of a native app that offers users the richest UI experience possible using a mobile device. The obvious disadvantage of having to code separately for each device (iOS, Android, BB) is overcome by the fact that native apps have access to all the GUI toolkit and the low-level and high-level APIs the OS of the device has to offer. This allows for fantastic rendering and great user experience. A good UI can make or break an application.


Under the hood, two apps may be identical. But when a user takes it to test, it’s the one with the slicker, cleaner, intuitive and more organized UI that will leave a good impression on the mind. You want to come back to an app that is easy and intuitive, not one that leaves you probing to find the right functionality.

Given the success of the native app, few would have thought that even Web apps would be cutthroat competition for it. But the potential of HTML 5, CSS and JQuery is attracting more and more customers now. More people are going the web app way too, like Financial Times.  The FT decided not to focus on its pre-existing native app, but to go the web app way. They came out with a brilliant web app that completely ousted their native app. Readers tripled overnight and their web app was a success. Same is the case with theBasecamp Mobile Web App, which is considered one of the most user-friendly apps in the market.


The Consumerization of IT and the increase in the mobile space has already created billion-dollar businesses, and is transforming all our lives. With the revenue and the fervor this has generated, it has brought a new focus on mobiles within businesses, not just for customers, but also within the enterprise. Even enterprises now want mobile apps for their functions, and not just basic apps with columns and rows and buttons, but with fantastic UI and great workflows and click/tap-streams. The reason is simple – people want to work on apps to get their work done faster and earn money faster. People don’t want apps that require more time or are difficult to operate. And at the same time, businesses and organizations want to roll out updates frequently, and not have to take too long in doing so. So mobile development firms are now taking to web based apps to lower development time.


Native apps that are made for users on their specific devices are usually made with the intent of making the user use the app as often as possible. User retention is driven by rich UI experience and great interactivity. Since enterprises too have the same goal of bringing customers to use their apps, it becomes imperative even for enterprise businesses to have apps that are as close to native apps as possible.  Enterprises are now even conducting alpha/beta testing and usability testing on their apps to ensure good experience for users. Similarly, businesses are also taking the web-based approach for apps that require high interaction with the Internet content and services, but low UI requirements. This brings faster processing apps to the market and easier rollouts of upgrades and maintenance fixes.


Based on these trends, enterprises are taking the hybrid app approach more seriously now. Hybrid app development presents developers and businesses the best of both the worlds of native and web apps. It brings together the solid richness of the UI and rendering of the native apps along with the ease, speed and convenience of the HTML 5 standardized coding and Internet interaction of the web based apps. Enterprises are now in need of mobile apps for bankinginsurancesalesasset management and even HR that are rich in UI and are constantly connected to the network. (You may see how Streebo offers these solutions using the earlier links, or visit here for more details). Considering the growth of HTML 5, coupled with the features that only native apps provide, hybrid apps provide users with all that they want – a good solid UI-rich experience that allows them to be enterprise-mobile with ease.


Hence, hybrid apps are increasingly being used for enterprises and this ensures that enterprises offer good experience to the users along with solid connectivity to the Internet and don’t just chalk out unimaginative and non-intuitive apps for them.


Of course, in the grand scheme of things, the decision of whether to choose native, hybrid or web-based apps is influenced also by other factors like the platforms on which it would work, the amount of online interaction, the digital distribution methods, etc. But this decision would also weigh heavily on how rich the UI needs to be and whether businesses are ready to run the risk of a poor UI experience and complexity of business to its customers (which is usually always unlikely).


14 May, 2012

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