Bring Your Web-Site to Mobile: Wrapping vs Native Apps

The world’s gone mobile


With millions of smartphones and tablets shipped each year, the buying audience has quickly got used to search for goods and shop from their mobile device. Google recently announced that its search engine would be hence focused on mobile search, and websites optimized for mobile browsing would come up first. The company also shares the statics, that mobile users are 5 times likely to leave a site which isn’t mobile-friendly, and nearly a half of them will leave if takes more than 3 seconds to loads. That said, the trend to turn web-sites into smartphone and tablet apps appears more that reasonable.


Many services, including Dropbox and have already released their mobile apps. If you check the examples, you will see that some services give their mobile access to all desktop features, while other app offer limited functionality. There are also some mobile apps which display yet more features comparing to their web versions.


Embrace your audience


As a mobile user yourself, think of of what you expect from a business site. The abundance of useful features won’t matter unless you can’t provide seamless user experience. Each mobile platform has its specific rules. So,  whether you are going build a whole new product or wrap an existing website into an mobile app, you have to be aware of those platform essentials, and be keen in both development issues and and business aspects.


Even if you are a happy owner of a responsive web-site (regardless of what you built it with), it might be cost-effective to create a native app instead of wrapping, especially taking into account the variety of features the variety of features usually provided on the web. In other words, wrapping an entire website into a mobile app is a venture, because with all efforts taken, its users may still be unsatisfied with the look-and-feel of your final product. That is why we generally suggest to start with the key functionality, and add more features with updates based on user feedback.


To create the MVP quickly, define the features to be realized in the first version by evaluating the target audience and its needs on the early development stage. It is also the key to understanding the technologies that suits best for the purpose. Having settled upon the concept, make sure to maintain productive collaboration between engineers and designers. These are also the steps to achieving perfect user experience.


Focus on the basics


Let’s be frank, you can say a native apps when you see it, just because the UX of a mobile app considers focuses on different design principles than that of a web-site. It has to be simple and intuitive, take account of the platform specifics and make sure to use all advantages it offers. Don’t fail to make good impression at first launch, because most users are unlikely to give your app the second chance. Once again, step into user’s shoes and think of the basics which ensurу seamless interaction with your product. Let us emphasize a few.


First and foremost, don’t forget that most users will use their smartphones to access your web-site, which makes it nearly impossible to put your entire site functionality in a small screen. In other words, each of your web-site feature may require more than one screen on a mobile device. Therefore, it turns another good reason to reduce the features you offer on mobile at least in the first version of your app. All further development could be put off till then.


Secondly, ensure intuitive navigation within your entire app. When it comes to mobile, simple navigation holds sway. Confusing design and complicated navigation are among the most common reasons why users uninstall the app after the first session. Keep it simple, keep it just.


This principle is  also true in terms of productivity. Mobile audience is quick to live, that’s why users expect immediate result from every action they take within your app. Giving your users instant gratification the key point of user retention. With the less screens it takes to accomplish their goal, the less time they wait for the server response, and the more fields are filled in automatically, the more chances your app has to keep the users and motivated.


Regarding the significant differences between web and native mobile platforms, the point is not whether at all your website can be converted to mobile, but rather how ensure the best user experience by creating a feasible mobile app.


Exploit platform features


Native apps have a lot of advantages over websites or mobile web, that can uplevel your business. These particularly includes the possibility to interact with a device’s services and hardware components, such as address book, camera, microphone, or picture gallery. And, of course, don't forget about such functionality as accelerometer, gyroscope, and GPS to define positioning, location, and motion.


As opposed to desktop, a smartphone is always at hand, which gives particular importance to data caching and offline capabilities of your app. As for data caching, it is essential for any app. But accessing an app’s content offline presupposes storing resources locally, which in its turn affects device computing power and memory. Consider this as you decide to support certain functionality in the offline mode.


Mobile and web applications operate differently when it comes to communication with a database and a server. A mobile app can either connect directly to the database (two-layered architecture), or through a server (three-layered architecture). So, if you already have a server, the data from your website could be be pulled to into build an app, provided that the server is optimized for mobile. In case a backend is outdated, it has to be developed from scratch. Unlike mobile apps, which communicate with a server through JSON APIs, web-sites usually use HTML format. Also such functionality as payments, might require third party service to processes transactions, while on the web it receives a different implementation.


In terms of user engagement, the possibilities mobile platforms are really inexhaustible. Such tools as push notifications, or location-based events are all developed natively. The technology is evolving at high speed, giving way to yet more impressive innovations, including augmented reality, Apple Pay and iBeacons.


At CuboRubo, we are use an extensive toolkit to built a quality app within less time. Feel free to contact us and learn more about our expertise and development process.


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