When delivering a mobile experience for web based information there are three different options, each with their own pros and cons.
Below we mention a few of them and note the relative price of each option signified by the number of dollar signs.
Option A – Native iPhone/Android App – $$$$
• Native performance
• Little to no requirement for data connection for most functionality
• Excellent performance and response time
• May be fairly static and require separate updates of web and mobile content
• Will require updates to core code to push changes
• Longer and more costly time to market
Option B – Hybrid native and web optimized app – $$$
• Re-purpose most existing website content
• Still have “downloadable” app
• Less development time to market
• Requires a data connection for most content
• Performance dependent somewhat on data connection speed
• Still some level of separate maintenance of app and website
Option C – Re-purpose all content into a mobile enabled website – $$
• Re-purpose almost all existing web content
• Very fast time to market
• All changes on website reflected on mobile app
• 100% requirement on data connection
• No “downloadable” app
This last risk related to “downloadability” (ooh a new word) may actually be a positive. Especially if the thrill of going to the AppStore is not part of your user experience goals.
Any way you you go its most important that the goals of the application and a great user experience are captured otherwise just like a bad web site its a waste of everyone’s time.
There is one other type of application we see at LaunchApps that I call a Template App.
I will talk about those the next time