Tag Archives: Mobile Web Application Development

Is mobile web application development the choice for you?

 

This short post is dedicated to mobile web application development and in particular whether or not this approach to mobile development is appropriate for your website.

Though there are no hard and fast rules for who should use mobile web apps, the intrinsic character of web apps means that certain websites will be very effective as an app, while others will not. Before we get into the technical side, let’s take a quick look at the mobile options available for building a website.

The first choice available for offering a mobile ready website is simply to use responsive design to create a website that works across any platform and device. Responsive design is perhaps the most frequently used solution to mobile browsing, partly thanks to the convenience of building a single site for multiple uses.

Before getting into mobile web apps, I firstly want to explain what a native app is. A native app is any application which you download and install onto your device, from the App Store or android marketplace. These apps are then readily available on your own device at your leisure.

Unlike a native app, a mobile web app is a website which looks, feels, and functions like a native app but with a few key differences. First of all, a mobile web app is like a website insofar as it is found and accessed via a web search, and nothing needs to be downloaded or installed onto your device. There are a number of benefits of this, not taking up any memory on the device, and the hesitation this may cause for native app users.

The one key limitation of mobile web apps compared with native apps is that they do not have automatic access to your devices’ features such as contact lists, camera, microphone and so on.

So who will most benefit from a mobile web application? As we’ve said, there are no strict rules. This said, though, the type of site which usually makes the best use of the platform are those sites which are image and icon-heavy, and relatively word light.

Mobile web application development as an alternative to a mobile website

 

Before deciding on how you build or renovate your mobile platform, it is always best to start at the beginning so as to choose from the full range of options available to you for delivering your content online. Perhaps the most common options used to create a mobile-ready online platform for a business is a mobile website, however, there is also the increasingly popular mobile web apps, offering an app-like look and feel, while provided and found online.

Mobile web application development offers a great many perks which balance it somewhere between creating and using a mobile website, or designing a native app (one which you download and install onto your device from an “app store”). Like a mobile website, a mobile web app is accessed from a search engine or by entering a url directly, for example I could search for a pizza delivery restaurant and be directed onto the web app in the same was as a mobile site.

Like a mobile website, a mobile web app requires no download or installation for use, making it far more accessible to your customer base, but with many of the advantages of a native app.

A web app offers us like a native app skin that is worn by our mobile website. Taking inspiration from the way that an app uniquely offers us the full screen, and which takes advantage of the touch and direction sensors in our device as granted, a mobile app recreates the experience of an app, but without taking up space in the device memory. Apps are also preferred aesthetically over mobile websites by users, and things like scrolling and clicking seem to be more natural.

There are plenty of things to consider before you choose which mobile platform is right for you and your website, however hopefully this guide gave you a helpful introductory insight into some of the main pros and cons of mobile web apps, as well as their alternatives.

The main pros of mobile web application development

If you’re looking to cater to the online experience of your customers using mobile and tablet devices then it might well be worth considering mobile web application development, if suitable with your service. In case you’re not yet aware, a mobile web app is a website which when entered using a mobile device takes the guise of a native app that you would find in the App Store.

Here we’ve covered the main pros and cons of mobile web apps to help you to decide if it might be right for you.

Pros

Appearance
One of the most attractive features of mobile web apps are the appearance they give compared with a mobile website. The way that you move page to page through the app differs from a website, meaning you can use more space on the page for content. The appearance of a web app has a more interactive and finger friendly interface on the whole.

Navigation
One of the next big pros of mobile web apps are that they give a really easy experience for navigating. Applications were developed to serve mobile devices and as a result they have a more intuitive feel for hand held browsing. Icons are usually larger, scrolling usually becomes left to right like a presentation or like pages in a book, as opposed to scrolling down to read the content.

Convenience
Unlike a native app, your user will never need to download or install your web app. In fact, they will stumble into your web app in the precise way that they would have found a website, via a direct search or a search engine. This makes a mobile web app a really ideal and convenient way to get your content out there without requiring a user to download and install something which takes up precious phone memory.

Is mobile web application development right for you?

Mobile web application development is something that you should consider when it comes to finding a solution to offering your mobile customer a platform to browse your website. Of course you could simply build a responsive website which will cater to all of your users needs, however in some cases it might well make more sense to develop a mobile web app. First of all, though, what is a mobile web app?

A mobile web app is any many respects much like any other app that you will find in the app store. The main difference however is that you do not need to download or install anything onto your device, but rather it can be accessed via the web, from a search engine. So in a sense, a mobile web app is somewhere  in between a mobile ready website, and a native app that you would download.

Among the many benefits of using a mobile web app are the fact that nothing needs to be installed onto the device. The web app is like a skin which makes a website look, feel, and operate as if an app. Apps are created to serve mobile phones, and as a result they have an intuitive feel to them, and are ideal for touch screen devices thanks to their unique icons. Above all, the main benefit of a web app is the unique way it allows your to move from page to page, as well as all of the clickable features throughout.

The only perceived downside to a web app is that, unlike a native app, certain features on your phone cannot be used via a web app. This includes the camera, microphone, access to photos and so on. So depending on what you plan on using your app / website for will determine if a web app is appropriate.  

mobile web application development – best practices

Developing an app is something that might be so particular to the needs of your website that you feel you’re starting from the drawing board. This doesn’t need to be the case though and there is plenty of advice and inspiration available for mobile web application development best practices which can give you a clue where to get started.

Consider a template

There are some fantastic services out there which can make developing a web app incredibly simple, Ember for example is fairly new but shows fantastic potential for where application development might be heading. Using different levels of templates a developer can save tonnes of time by taking advantage of ready made customisable icons and designs. Ember have a fantastically simple approach to app design and if nothing else you can take some good inspiration from trying it out.

Edge web fonts is another fantastic web tool for app development. Thousands of totally free original fonts at your fingertips, what more could a developer ask for.

Friendly on the eye

If you’re developing a mobile web app rather than making a responsive website then you must take the opportunity to make your app visually appealing. It’s so simple to create an attractive app compared with the challenges of a mobile website that you need to create something stunning.

Thumb friendly

And always remember that the primary purpose of your web app is to serve your customers via their handheld device. Making a thumb friendly app isn’t hard though, and it’s kind of the whole point of an app to be natural on a mobile device. Use large icons and ghost buttons, high res imagery and horizontal scrolling can all add to the ease of use for your mobile users.

There are plenty of other great ways to wow your user with web apps, most importantly though make sure your app is hyper functional, if not, what’s the point?

Why mobile web application development is so popular



Of course mobile web application development follows from the inspiration of native apps for mobile devices but they’ve come to have a life of their own, and they are now widely a first choice for businesses looking to make a mobile app for their website. But why exactly are they so popular?

With businesses
The first reason that mobile web apps are great for businesses is their convenience. Directing a mobile user to your app usually requires going through the app store, finding the app, and finally downloading and installing it before use. Directing a user to your web app though just requires them to click on your website, and voila! A mobile web app is an alternative to a website, which looks and feels like an app, and which works otherwise exactly as a website would.

Secondly businesses love mobile web apps because it allows them to create interesting creative and interactive web designs which are more suited for a hand-held device. Native apps (those that you download and install) were designed especially for use with mobile phones, unlike websites. Using an app like platform is natural and is more appropriate for hand-held device in many ways than a responsive design which makes a mobile website look like a weak copy of the desktop website plan.

With consumers
Mobile web apps are popular with consumers for many of the same reasons that they are with a business. They are pleasant to use, and feel more intuitively finger friendly. Additionally a mobile web app can incorporate tonnes of features that a standard mobile site cannot, including interactive elements and animations that make the user experience more fun, and more involved. Plus unlike mobile websites, web apps are not device specific, and so regardless of your mobile device the web app should respond the uniformly.

Mobile web application development adds a new dimension to your website

There are plenty of reasons to consider using a mobile web app in place of a standard mobile website, Most mobile sites simply use a responsive website design, but what is responsive design but an attempt to create an online experience similar to a native app.

One of the main reasons that a business owner might choose a mobile web app instead of a mobile site is usability. Mobile web pages can appear too much like converted websites, and often lack a certain quality in their functionality. Websites often need to be adapted to better suit mobile browsing, and designing to be similar to a native app is one of the best ways to do that.

With a web app things feels different though, everything is custom made to work on your mobile device, the format is more effective, and browsing page to page is more simple. Plus there’s plenty of great interactive features to take advantage of.

The main benefits of using a web app are similar to using a native app as far as user experience is concerned. Plus it doesn’t take up space, and the user needn’t think about deleting old apps to make space to try out a new app that they’re yet to see. For the business using the app as a mobile site the mobile web app serves a different function. People only have a certain capacity for app downloads, and they can’t download an app for every online takeaway they like, they can use a mobile app for it though.

Finally a mobile app can direct your user to it straight from their browser, no need to go to the app store.

Mobile web application development ends in a result somewhere between a native app that needs to be downloaded and installed, and a mobile website. Mobile web apps work through the browser, but function and look just like a native app.

Planning for mobile web application development


Plan ahead
One of the most important things to remember if you’re thinking about beginning a mobile web application development project for your website. It’s up to you to work out how to make the most of the application, and if you don’t plan properly then you’ll end up with an ineffective app. Be sure to ask what you can add to your browsing experience by using the mobile web app platform. How can you navigate more easily, and what useful tools can you add by using an app?

Native vs Web
A native app – one that you download and install to your device – is useful in many respects, and inspired the idea for web apps. Native apps can be used without an internet connection, they can access features on your phone like photos, camera, microphone and so on. However if you don’t need to use these features, a mobile web app is probably the best option for your website.

A mobile web app is like a native app cover to your website. This is great since all customers who find your site from a search engine search will immediately come straight to your app, without the need to download anything.

Quality
Finally it’s essential that if you’re going to transform your website into a mobile web app then you need it to work perfectly. Again there are plenty of features to worry about, and it will usually be a work in progress for a while, but here are a few key details to consider before making your mobile web app live.

Firstly your app needs to be capable of loading quickly on all devices and all browsers. The best apps should be able to load within a couple of seconds, and if yours takes much longer then your customers might click back and try the next site on the list. One of the biggest issues is with load times is with image size. Be sure to use image optimizers online to help with page loading time.

The Benefits of Mobile Web App Development


What are the benefits of developing a mobile web app, and apps more generally? Well the first thing that’s clear is that people love them, and love using them. This means if your business utilises them, your customer might one day love using your app, to read information, or maybe to buy your product or service.

One of the main reasons that people opt for apps over plain mobile websites is their usability. A mobile web page can often look like it’s been converted from a desktop to fit the mobile screen, the menu tags are often really small, and full use is seldom made of the full screen space.

With an app it feels different, everything has been custom designed to work on your device, there is no browser bar or settings along the top of the screen, there’s no chance of finding icons that don’t respond, or pictures that won’t load, just a care-free, eye-pleasing user experience.

The kind of hybrid result between a native app that must be downloaded and installed, and a mobile website, is a mobile web app. Mobile web apps work through the browser, but work and look just like a native app.

The main benefits of the web app are the same as for the native app for the user, but without the need to take up space, or think about deleting old apps just to try out this new app that you’ve seen. For the company using the app the mobile web app serves a different function. Nobody would download a full app just for their local take-away, but when they search for your website and find a web-app, they’re far more likely to return.

There are plenty of other benefits to mobile web application development (click here to see more), as well as some setbacks, but with the advantages it carries there’s no doubt that the use of mobile web apps will continue to rise, and new solutions to the limitations will be discovered.

What is a Mobile Web App? And Should I Have One?


“Apps” when the term first became… well… massive, referred to what is called native applications. These native applications include those which come preinstalled on your device, which are often hard or impossible to delete, as well as all of those that you can find in an app store. The require being downloaded, and having their information installed onto the device to work.

These apps are an incredibly popular way of doing things, and for certain tasks they’ll remain the fore-runner for their unique features. The problem is that they’re very weighty, and use up a great deal of your limited hardware memory. The solution is mobile web apps.

Mobile web apps use little memory at all, and for the most part, or at least as far as the viewer is concerned, act exactly like native apps. This is swell, since most of the popularity of apps depends upon their appearance and usability.

There are still some limitations for the mobile web app against its native equivalent. First off web apps always depend on having, you guessed it… the web! On the other hand native apps can offer us plenty of entertainment when we find ourselves without connection, which is often the time we most like to turn to apps for fun.

Games, language tools, or your whole music library can be stored in your phone, at the cost of much memory, but without the reliance of an internet connection to function. This is one fundamental downside to web apps at present that will take some problem solving.

Another issue is with integrating existing features on your phone for the use of the app. Language tools can access your microphone to check pronunciation. Other apps might require access to your camera / photos to work, and without these features would lose their purpose.

These are all still barriers to mobile web apps breaking away from native apps, but no doubt, new breakthroughs to report on won’t take long.