In a world where more than 65% of digital time is spent on a mobile device, companies are using every method available to get on the user’s screen. Because of this, a multitude of app development methods exist. It’s easy to get a little whiplash when trying to wrap your head around each of these different mobile engagement options, so we’ll help you break it down in our series, Your Mobile Engagement Dictionary. This is part two in this series, so feel free to check out Part One too!
Hybrid Mobile Apps
Hybrid mobile apps work as a cross between web apps and native mobile apps. These apps are websites that are built as normal web pages but run in the shell of a mobile web browser. As hybrid apps are technically still native apps, hardware components of the phone are available for use throughout the app. Since hybrid mobile apps are simply websites in disguise, developing, managing, and scaling all become easier. Unfortunately, one of the biggest drawbacks for hybrid apps is performance. Considering the app’s web browser shell is still just that, a web browser, the app’s performance capabilities are limited to the web browser as opposed to a full native app, compromising the user experience and typically providing lackluster user interfaces.
Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)
Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are app-like experiences that are hosted behind a URL and can be accessed via any browser on any device. Working off the foundation set by web apps, PWAs are designed to be more practical and user friendly. According to Google Developers, a PWA must have the following characteristics:
- Progressive — must work for every user and every browser
- Responsive — must fit any form factor (mobile, desktop, tablet, etc.)
- Connectivity Independent — must be able to work offline via Service Workers
- App-like — must feel and act as if it is a native mobile app
- Fresh — must always be up to date
- Safe — must be served through HTTPS
- Discoverable — must be identified as an “app”
- Re-engageable — must allow push notifications
- Installable — must allow users to “keep” the app without going through an app store
- Linkable — must be able to be shared via URL without a complex installation process
Android Instant Apps
Android Instant Apps allow users who tap on a link to run apps instantly without having to install the app. Working through Google Play Services, an Instant App request will call for one specific feature of an app. For example, if a user searches for nearby locations, Instant Apps will utilize a company’s store locator feature within their app instead of accessing the entire app.