Native App vs. Mobile Web Apps: What Everyone Should Consider

Just as technology breakthroughs have shaped the way society functions and interacts, it has also redefined how we train and learn. What was once accomplished through dedicated training sessions is now delivered on an on-demand basis. Instructional videos, simulations, and informative content can be accessed directly at the moment of need thanks to the prevalence of mobile devices. If you have not integrated mLearning educational tactics into your organization or business’s training structure, you should, but first, consider the method.

In the setting of mLearning, native applications immediately come to mind but this is not necessarily the best approach. Sure, they are great for processing-intensive tasks and interfacing with device elements, but they are also platform exclusive.  Web applications are reliant on web browsers and as a result, they are for the most part, universally compatible. All that is needed is an Internet connection and your training resource can be accessed from any mobile device, eliminating the need for duplicate and costly platform development efforts.

Before making your decision, consider the following:

Audience and Platform: Are you developing an mLearning course to be used in-house on a consistent device? If so, cross-platform compatibility is likely not a concern of yours. However, if you intend to support varying mobile device operating systems such as iOS, Android, Windows 8, and Blackberry, development costs will exponentially rise if you are pursuing a native app. Web apps eliminate this headache with the convenient  “build once, run anywhere” reality. With the right developer who is sensitive to the variances in mobile browsers and the technology and languages they support, development of a web app is a singular process with unlimited potential audience reach.

Features and Performance: mLearning platforms such as games that are processing-intensive or interface with device components, like the camera, perform best as native applications. Native apps can interface directly with the underlying mobile platform. Additionally, native apps are not reliant on bandwidth and an Internet connection, resulting in a fast and seamless end-user experience. 

Application Updates: If you decide to develop a native app, remember that it and its various incarnations must go through the app store publishing process. This process then needs to be repeated for each application update, requiring an administrative effort as well as an end-user effort. Web applications are free of the, at times, convoluted publishing process and updates are reflected instantaneously, requiring no end-user action.

If you are in search of a mobile application developer, contact DDA Apps. After listening to your needs, we will be sure to steer you in the right direction, and as an organization renowned for our delivery of interactive technologies, we can offer a wide range of services in house, from theory to design to programming. Call or email us today: 215-355-6442/

 Photo Courtesy of Emerging Tech