Why you should be choosing Hybrid over Native

You don’t need to phone a friend to know that mobile is taking over the internet, with desktop usage falling each year.

However, if that pal has the means to help you understand how your organisation can best serve all those millions of potential visitors or customers, they’re worth putting at the top of your speed dial.

The most basic decision to be made ahead of launching a new mobile app is how it will be created. The two choices are Hybrid and Native:

Native mobile app: An app developed specifically for a particular mobile operating system (usually iOS or Android).

Hybrid mobile app: An app which is built in a similar manner to a website. Both website and hybrid applications use a combination of technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. However instead of being built for a specific mobile operating system, hybrid apps target a WebView hosted inside a native container.

Key considerations when making this decision include budget, flexibility, performance and the timescale of development. GrowthMinds believes Hybrid to be superior in each of these criteria. Here are just some of the reasons why we recommend Hybrid – which is the choice of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and most mobile banking apps – to our clients.

1 How Native do you really need to go?

Apps work in tandem with the device’s features. How much access they need to Camera, Contacts, Map and Push will vary. Hybrid apps can access many of these features, with some development frameworks better than others. If your app relies completely on the phone’s capabilities, Native will be the superior choice. However, many apps have simple requirements, so the extra cost of Native may be a luxury that is not necessary. Hybrid apps such as Facebook and Twitter are loaded seamlessly by billions of smartphone users every day.

When it comes down to it, how flexible and bespoke does one need to be? If I travelled to the inhospitable wilds of the Antarctic I’d always choose to be a human with a cold nose rather than turn into a penguin.

2 Cost

Developing platforms specifically for both iOS and Android, while also retaining legacy desktop, is going to be much more expensive than a single Hybrid approach. If your budget is a major constraint – and it is for most – and you believe the bespoke apps are a luxury you can do without, Hybrid is the choice.

It should be noted that development costs are dropping due to greater competition in the market. This means going Native is less expensive than it might have been earlier in this decade. However, it has also brought down the cost of Hybrid development, and again one must weigh up the benefits against cost.

As well as up front costs, maintenance and support expenses should also be taken into account. Native apps need altering regularly to keep up with operating system updates and bug fixes, so expect continuous spending on app improvements.

3 Time

Choosing a Hybrid app will unquestionably mean getting to market quicker, as just one product is being launched, with fewer decisions to make and fewer people involved. Planning the platform, its development and testing will all take time. Yet more will be needed to produce Native apps for at least the two operating systems that account for 95% of the market. This is a key consideration for any company that wishes to get its app up and running and generating income.

4 User experience

There’s no getting away from it: mobile internet users are a picky bunch. Make them wait a few seconds, or cause their device to slow down and they’re likely to storm off, slam the door and never return. One might assume Native will work better from this point of view. However any superiority is only marginal and comes at a much greater cost along with continuous maintenance.

Don’t get the impression that the user experience of a Hybrid app is bad – think about the reliability of Facebook and your banking app. A good front-end developer in a Hybrid app can compete with the Native experience, and at a lower cost. Many companies will be able to achieve the same results through a Hybrid as through a Native.

One key positive of Hybrid over Native is that app updates will be much less annoying for users. The biggest advantage for Hybrid is that content is updated from the web directly, rather than relying on regular requests for users to make changes from the App Store or Google Play. Apps that are constantly updating can be infuriating. This is one of the reasons that most banks and news sites opt for Hybrid.

If you are looking to launch an app or refresh your existing platform, GrowthMinds’ expertise, experience and contacts make it the Tinder hottie that is unquestionably a swipe right! Get in touch here.