The choice Between HTML5 and Native Mobile Apps: UX is the Key


You’ve got a good service to sell and are looking for the best ways to connect and engage  your potential customers. Reaching out to them through mobile devices becomes an obvious choice due to the ubiquity and easy accessibility of smartphones. Unfortunately, the mobile world is cluttered. Effectively reaching out to them thus means not just connecting with them, but also providing them with the best user experience possible.

A research study conducted by Oracle best validates this. The study found that nearly 55% of millennials say a poor mobile app experience would make them less likely to use a company’s products or services. One of the long-standing debates that has emerged in an attempt to provide mobile users with a great user experience is the one between the use of HTML5 apps and native mobile apps.

HTML5 / Hybrid or Native mobile app?

On the face of things, the HTML5 app or hybrid mobile app seems like easiest option for a company. What you have is one app, reaching out to consumers across different mobile platforms. This obviously means faster go-to-market times, lesser effort and lower costs. This may sound perfect to your business head who more often than not will give you a deadline of ‘yesterday’ to complete the task of making a mobile phone application. The downside that comes along with this however is a HUGE compromise on user experience.

HTML5 or hybrid apps may actually prove to be useful if you already have a website and are just looking for a presence in the app stores. While these apps are useful for small scale projects that need to be developed rapidly, most brands cannot afford to risk a compromise on user experience for the sake of speed of execution.

A native app on the other hand is great because it involves the customization of the app to suit a particular operating system. This approach helps in providing users with the best possible user experience in terms of adaptability, layout, navigation, structure, interactivity, branding and feedback. Even the most accomplished user experience designer will not be able to develop an app that caters to both iPhone and Android users, as they both have very different style guidelines that come with their own set of advantages.

Customization gives native apps an edge

The android operating system, for example, is free and open source, allows the integration of other Google products and services into the platform and enables users to run multiple apps at the same time. iOS on the other hand has higher app quality standards, dynamic icons for apps and better artificial intelligence technology. App developers will keep these advantages in mind while developing respective native mobile apps. Besides this, native apps can be much more powerful as they get to utilize the platform APIs to access native features.

The customization to platforms that native app allow, help enabling the app to be faster and more reliable in its design. When users navigate these apps, all the visual elements including contents and structure are already on their phone and will be instantly loaded at wish, thereby providing them with a more seamless experience.

Native apps are also more secure since they often leverage their respective platform’s security features. Android for instance allows app sandboxing, secure inter process communications using binders, app permissions and the like. Google also has some standard security considerations for app developers. Just like Android, iOS has a separate security model with features such as secure boot chain, code signing etc.

What’s the answer?

The debate seems nearly one-sided due to the potential for great user experience and app performance in a native mobile phone application. In this day and age, these two factors cannot be ignored by a brand looking to break-through in a cluttered mobile phone market. Security is another important feature that is enabled through the creation of a mobile app.