Picking the Right Type of App for Your Business: Native, Hybrid, or Responsive?

Native, Hybrid, or Responsive?Are you going to have an app developed for your business? If so, you have a lot of decisions to make, beginning with choosing the type of app that’s best suited for your purposes. Picking the right kind of app for your project at the start of development is what will set the final deliverable up for success.

Before you attempt to choose an app type, you should take a few minutes to answer some questions that will help you make the right choice.

Here are some questions you should answer:

  • How quickly do you want your app to be developed?
  • What’s your budget?
  • What is the purpose of the app?
  • What features does your app need in order for it to achieve its purpose?
  • What kind of user experience do you want your app to deliver?
  • Are you going to use a mobile app company or develop your app in-house?

How you answer the questions listed above will have a big influence on the app type you ultimately choose. Not every kind of app is made using the same programming language, for instance. If you’re going to develop an app in-house and your staff isn’t familiar with Objective C, Swift and Java, developing a native app for iOS and Android won’t be an option for you.

Native Applications

In general, you have three kinds of apps to choose from, native, hybrid and responsive. A native app is one that’s made for specific devices using a programming language that’s specific to a platform. Objective C and Swift are used to create native apps for iOS devices and Java is used to develop apps for Android users.

A native app is able to access a device’s features, including its camera, GPS and contact list. Native apps operate directly from the platform they’re made for and they provide a user experience that’s best described as “native.”

Native apps are fast and typically provide a pleasing user experience. Native apps are reliable and they require the least amount of hardware because of the way they’re coded. Native apps still work with no Internet connection and they can send push notifications to encourage users to do certain things.

Because you have to build two separate apps for two different platforms, native apps can be expensive to create, maintain and update. It can also be challenging to provide the exact same user experience on two platforms. This is made even harder because many developers specialize in creating apps for one platform exclusively, which means you may have to involve two developers for the same project.

If you think a native app is the right one for you, it’s vital for you to consider the app store approval process very early on in the development process. If you don’t plan for a smooth, quick launch right from the start of your project, it may drastically affect your time to market on the back end.

Responsive Apps

Also known as web apps, responsive applications are websites that are disguised as apps, so to speak. A responsive app runs in browsers, which means they cannot be downloaded like native apps. To use a responsive app, a user must be connected to the Internet.

Responsive applications cannot access a device’s features, but they are made with the same code across platforms. The programming languages that are typically used to develop responsive apps are HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Developing a responsive app is generally much faster and less expensive than creating a native app.

A response app is a smart choice if you want your desktop website to display in a user-friendly manner on mobile devices and you don’t need added native functionality, like being able to access to someone’s camera or their location information. This kind of application is also a good choice if you want to display content on mobile platforms like iOS and Android fast.

While a shorter development time, a lower price tag and the ability to display content quickly certainly make responsive apps attractive, they do have some significant drawbacks. In addition to not being able to access a device’s features, responsive apps aren’t available in app stores, their icons don’t stay on someone’s home screen unless the person bookmarks them and they don’t necessarily work well with older devices.

Hybrid Applications

As you’d expect, hybrid apps sit between responsive and native applications. Hybrid apps look and feel like a native app and they’re available in app stores. While hybrid app icons remain on a user’s home screen, they operate using a browser that’s embedded in the application. When creating hybrid apps, an app development company will use the same programming languages across platforms.

Hybrid apps are relatively quick to develop because most of their development uses standard technologies, which also makes them affordable to produce. Hybrid apps can access a device’s features and they still work when no Internet connection is available. Compared to native apps, hybrid apps are much easier to update and deploy.

The performance of a hybrid application is greatly influenced by the capabilities of the device that’s employed to use the app. As devices get faster, hybrid apps continue to provide an improved user experience even at the gaming level. While that’s great news, some hybrid apps struggle to provide a native-like user experience because they’re designed for multiple platforms at once and they have to adjust to varying platforms simultaneously.

As it is with native apps, hybrid applications must go through the app store approval process. Keep this in mind if you’re going with a hybrid app and plan accordingly from the very start of your project.

Contact Sunlight Media

If you’re struggling to pick the right kind of app or you’re already prepared to launch a development project but need an app development company, contact Sunlight Media. We’ve been developing websites and apps for small and mid-size businesses for years and we have the expertise necessary to create any kind of app you want for your organization.

Look over some of the development projects our app development company has pulled off successfully and then reach out to us to learn more about our app development services today.


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