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#ASKTHEINDUSTRY 38: When does a Web app make sense, and when would you go native instead?

The other day I stumbled upon this tweet:

Here are some thoughts:

  • Apps as we know them are done. People in wealthy countries don’t install apps anymore. The market is saturated and users only use a handful of highly selected apps on their average day. People in emerging countries, who potentially are new to the market and could be your next users, care too much about their storage space and their limited network traffic to install that many apps on their devices.
  • If the thing your app is about has a limited lifespan, it’s not worth the install.
  • If you can’t guarantee users will have cheap access to connectivity, maybe because they’re traveling to attending to your event, it’s mostly likely going to be too expensive to install.
  • If your app is just a façade to a service living on a back end, it doesn’t need to be native anymore: great things can be done on the Web if you don’t need special hardware access.
  • Every step your potential users have to take to get to the experience will cost you 20% of those users. Users are literally falling through the cracks, when you go native.

Do I think every app in the world should transit to a Web-only model and give up entirely on the native platform? Absolutely not. There is a time and a place for everything, and building a native app may make more sense in some cases than in others. But do I think events don’t need native apps anymore? Yeah. Picking the right platform for your business case is crucial, and the Web makes a great case for those scenarios in which you either need broad reach or a simpler on-boarding experience.

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