From fat monitors to sleek laptops, from laptops to mobile devices, from mobile devices to whom knows what in future, technology evolution continues at pace.
The simple fact is the web as we know it is being replaced by Apps.
There are mainly two type of apps:
- mobile web apps
- native apps
(A possible third is a mixture of those two)
Recent studies show a shifting trend towards WordPress publishers investing significant sums in mobile app development.
According to a study conducted by Flurry Analytics, average user time of mobile apps is increasing 10-12% annually – as such apps dominate of mobile use.
As you can see from the image below, nearly 86% of the time is spent on native apps.
Also most of the people prefer using the app when either on the move or bored mostly to keep themselves busy, especially when at work . To make it easier, users download apps from the app store in iOS and Play Store in Android. Gmail, Facebook, Google Search, and WhatsApp Messenger’s native apps has over 1 billion downloads since their inception, most downloaded app for new and information is Flipboard with over 100 million downloads.
And yet there are some WordPress publishers still confused whether to opt for a mobile web application or a native one.
So, to help avoid the dilemma, here are some major reasons as to why publishers of a WordPress site should prefer native applications over web apps.
#1. Accessibility and Better User Experience
Facebook app and Messenger is of the prime example of that, both with over a billion downloads, people prefer the Facebook app over the mobile web as it provides better accessibility and user experience compared to the mobile web.
Other examples would be Instagram – the platform can access your camera and gallery for you to fully enjoy the various app functions, which web based apps cannot do.
Facebook Native App
#2. Better Performance
Another reason why native app works better is because it is faster.
Mobile web apps generally doesn’t perform as well as apps because everytime you open a web app, it downloads resources from the web which takes more time and consumes a lot of data to support many different actions of the user.
Native apps, on the other hand, store their resources on the local storage of a device. This speeds up the process of accessing resources, leading to better performance of native applications. This means that readers will be able to access the published content on your site faster than on the mobile web app.
#3. Easier to Build
It’s not that native apps are easier to make but mobile web apps are difficult to make because of the compatibility issues with different browsers and also the different versions of the iOS and Android supports different functions which can make it difficult for the developer to keep up with.
#4. Immersive Reading Experience
As explained in point one the loading time it takes in mobile web app, this is where a reader as advantage that it loads faster and the content is more immersive and easier to read and scroll.
An example of that would be the ‘The Hindu’ native application – developed for iOS and Android– that allows readers access content of ‘thehindu.com’ directly from the app instead of waiting for loading the site.
Screenshot 1: The Hindu Native App with better accessibility and cleaner interface
#5 Offline Capabilities to Readers
One major drawback with mobile web apps is the dependency on internet. In simple terms, a user need to be connected to the internet to use the app, and a user without internet or loss of connection won’t be able to access your WordPress site or blog. But, native app on the other hand can work effectively with availability of internet as well.
#6. Sharing Is Easier
Often as a reader when we like something we want to share it with our friends, family on social networking site or whether instant messaging app, the sharing is much easier with the native apps.
Finally, It is important to understand the power and capabilities of mobile devices and how you can utilize it for your advantage. As a WordPress publisher, I’ll advise to get the native app made by a professional to take your website or blog in a forward direction.