Brands looking to create a mobile application have two routes: a cross-platform mobile app designed to be compatible with multiple devices and operating systems or a native app designed to work solely with one platform and device.In this article, we’ll look at how native apps can improve performance and user experience despite sometimes being costlier to develop and maintain than more generic cross-platform apps.
What Are Native Apps?
Native apps are software applications built using a specific programming language (e.g. Objective-C, Swift, Java and Kotlin etc) for use with a particular device platform or operating system. In the case of mobile apps, this is either iOS or Android. Native apps are installed directly onto the device, and developers create a different version of the mobile app for each mobile device – e.g. you’d create a different version of your app for iPad/iPhone users and another for Android users.
So, what are the benefits of native apps over a cross-platform app?
The significant advantage of a native mobile app is that it can optimise the user experience for a particular device – native apps are faster and more responsive because they are designed for that specific platform. This makes them less susceptible to glitches and unforeseen bugs and allows the app to access and utilise device features better, such as the microphone, camera, GPS, and swipe gestures.
Ways That A Native App Can Improve Performance And UX
As native apps are installed directly onto the device (as opposed to being installed in the cloud and streamed to the device through a user interface), they usually run faster and respond more quickly than other apps. This speed boost comes from the software’s ability to communicate directly with the operating system without any ‘middleware’, which increases both speed and responsiveness.
3. Access To Device Features And Tools
The ability of a native app to directly access the hardware of a device allows for deeper integration between your app and the users’ device capabilities, leading to a richer user experience. For example, a native photo editing app can directly access the user’s device camera for real-time photo enhancements and filters.
4. Consistent Design
Native apps adhere to specific user interface (UI) design guidelines relevant to their intended platform. This ensures that the software seamlessly aligns with the UI patterns and structures familiar to device users, making your app more intuitive and user-friendly.
5. Off-Line Capabilities
A cross-platform app streamed to a device will only work as effectively as the user’s current Internet connection, so one of the most significant advantages of investing in a native mobile app is its ability to work offline. A mobile app that works slowly or suddenly stops working frustrates users. Since most of the resources needed to operate a native app are stored on the device, users can access your content and perform certain functions regardless of their Internet connection, providing uninterrupted user experiences (e.g. on train journeys or flights and in mobile ‘dead spots’).