Users Frequently Can’t Tell If They’re Using A Native App Or HTML5

There has been much hand-wringing about the merits of using HTML5 versus building native apps for mobile device. Whatever the technical arguments, it’s important not to lose sight of one key fact: many end users can’t tell the difference.

Mobile app picture from Shutterstock

Developers are understandably concerned with the development approaches for the two alternatives, which are quite distinct. However, as Gartner analyst David Mitchell Smith points out in a recent paper, that distinction is often ignored by users:

The main issue is that users cannot tell, in most instances, if an app is native or a wrapped hybrid. To them, it is an app if it comes from the app store (not just Apple’s App Store, but also Google’s Play store, Amazon and enterprise app stores). Users see what they want as “native,” and that reinforces perceptions that HTML5 is not relevant or dead.

The lesson? As much as you might think hybrid apps are awkward, users are more likely to embrace them. The key may not be what you build, but how you deliver it.



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