Ideas

Native Apps or Web Apps: What Does Your Business Need

September 14, 2018

The fact that businesses need apps today is indisputable. So, we aren’t going to discuss that. However, what we are going to discuss is what kind of app works best for your business. You see, we generally work with two types of apps – the native app and the web app.

Now, before we go into which one of these is ideal for your business, let’s first get ourselves introduced to each type of app.

Native Mobile Apps

Native mobile apps are what you’re thinking of when you hear the word “app”. The term “native” here simply refers to the fact that these apps work within a native environment i.e. they work on a specific platform.

These platforms are nothing but the mobile operating systems that we commonly use, such as Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. So, to cut a long story short, native apps are the apps that are designed exclusively to work on our smartphones.

The main benefit of these apps is that they offer an optimized user experience. Since they are designed purely for a given platform, they work in sync with that particular platform. There are very few compromises being made.

However, if you’re looking to tap into a customer base that’s not limited to one particular platform, you’re going to have problems with native apps. For instance, if you have customers on both, iOS and Android, you will have to build two different versions of the app. This can be a problem if you have a tight budget. Plus, if you limit yourself to a single platform, you’ll end up missing out on a chunk of your target audience.

Web Apps

A web app is one that doesn’t have to be installed on a phone and isn’t limited to a specific platform. These apps are accessible via a web browser. So, in a way, accessing these apps is like accessing a website. In fact, you can even argue that these apps are basically websites.

Web apps are developed using programming languages such as CSS, HTML5, and Javascript etc. Though they may look like websites, they are far more optimized and offer, more or less, the same user experience as native apps.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Native Apps

Now, let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of having either of these apps.

With native apps, as we discussed earlier, you have the benefit of an optimized user experience. The app will work just the way it should on your phone. This includes a well-developed interface, great speed, high-quality graphics, and a host of other features that match the functionality offered by your OS, be it Android or iOS.

Native apps are also easier to distribute because you have specific marketplaces such as Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store. So, it’s easier to reach out to a wider audience. In fact, you might even get free promotions if your app does well.

Native apps can also offer certain functions offline.

As for disadvantages, native apps are limited to specific platforms. You will have to build one for each platform that you’re targeting. This can prove to be quite expensive. Though there are cross-platform tools, they only work if your app offers very simplistic functionalities.

Having two versions of the same app brings in other problems as well. For instance, updating, bug tracking, and general maintenance can become very complex.

Native apps also have to be installed on the device’s storage unit, which means the user will have to ensure that there is enough space. This can be a deal breaker at times.

Finally, updates are controlled by the user. So, improved versions may not be delivered at the right time, which can lead to abandonment or dissatisfaction.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Web Apps

To begin with, web apps have no need for installation. You can access them with just an internet connection and a good internet browser.

They are already developed to work across multiple platforms, so you have a single version to deal with. This can save money and time.

Maintenance and updates are done on the developer’s end, which means the latest version is what users will have access to at all times.

Finally, since the app doesn’t have to be distributed via a marketplace, you don’t have to worry about third-party agreements or terms of service.

However, there are disadvantages too. For starters, Users will have to remain online to access all functionalities. Of course, you do have HTML5 which permits application caching. So, access to previously visited pages is possible. But, then again, this is still not much of a solution.

Finally, since the app doesn’t have to be distributed via a marketplace, you don’t have to worry about third-party agreements or terms of service.

However, there are disadvantages too. For starters, Users will have to remain online to access all functionalities. Of course, you do have HTML5 which permits application caching. So, access to previously visited pages is possible. But, then again, this is still not much of a solution.

Then, there’s the issue of optimization. Mobile apps are not optimized for a specific device or OS. So, they may work exceptionally well on some devices and not so well on others.

You also have greater problems in terms of security. There are several vulnerabilities that affect sites and these same vulnerabilities affect web apps as well.

Finally, all the data is stored on a server. This leads to more queries, which, in turn, leads to greater server loads.

The Decision

The decision of which type of app is better ultimately boils down to what your business specifically requires. For instance, if your requirement is high-quality graphics and an optimized user experience, native apps are your best bet. You cannot rival them when it comes to performance and speed either.

However, web apps are great if you’re looking to reach out to a wider audience. Since they aren’t limited to a specific platform, this is possible. Web apps are also good for processing voluminous data.

So, sit down and work out your actual requirements. Once you have a really good idea of what your business needs, it becomes easier to determine which of these apps is perfect for you.

But, if you’re still confused, we at Crafted might be able to help. We’re a professional app development firm that has worked with multiple clients. We can help you figure out what’s best for the business.

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