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Choosing The Right Technology For Your Mobile Apps In 2021

On the one hand, increasingly strong use of mobile applications, especially reinforced by a period when digital is used, in “real life”, for social distancing, contactless and new customer journeys.

On the other hand, the multiplication of customer interfaces (site, iOS, Android application and sometimes in-store interfaces) is leading companies to think about pooling solutions in order to reduce costs and sometimes to simplify internalization using a single technical language. mastered by the teams.

In this area, technologies – and sometimes fashions – evolve relatively quickly, it is, therefore, necessary to regularly review the available solutions, especially since there is no single answer but a choice that depends on the context of the business. ‘company. In preparation for the new decade which promises to be “mobile-centric”, a brief overview of solutions for developing mobile applications.

From Native To The Web, Four Main Options

App development technologies can be classified into 4 main categories:

  1. Development languages ​​of operating systems, known as “native” (compiled, specific to each platform) allowing development “native” apps (Kotlin for Android at Google, Swift for iOS at Apple)
  2. Cross-platform technologies (Flutter, Kotlin / Native) which generate compiled code, adapted to each platform
  3. Mobile-oriented JavaScript frameworks allowing the development of so-called “hybrid” applications (React Native, Nativescript)
  4. Finally, cross-platform pioneers, technologies allowing to encapsulate web pages in a mobile application (Ionic, Webviews)

According to Bitrise, the current distribution shows that while native development remains in the majority (70% of apps), React Native (around 15%) and more recently Flutter (8%) solutions have found a certain resonance in the face of the issue of pooling. ‘a number of players.

How And On What Criteria To Make Your Choice?

Native technologies: the most expensive since they require two developments and maintenance of two codes – are the most successful in terms of customer experience.

The choice could be a priori simple: if you have the means, do not deprive yourself of the best. However, there is no point in overinvesting if your customers, by their use, do not need a “premium” experience.

Use: The more your activity generates a high frequency of interaction (transactional, self-care) with your customers, the more this dialogue should be carried out via your application (in particular vs your mobile site) for questions of speed and simplicity. It is for this reason that social networks have approached”

Functional: The more complex your function will be and will use the phone’s resources (real-time mapping, NFC or Bluetooth, use in offline mode, video, 3D or augmented reality content, etc.) the more your app will be preferred by consumers for questions performance. Even for occasional uses (hence the development of Apple’s App Clips recently).

Budget: Obviously, the stronger your budget constraints, the more you will look for pooling solutions. However, be careful not to imagine that you will halve your development and maintenance costs. The reality is rather at -20% or -30% depending on the solution chosen.

Company culture: If you have an internalization objective, the technical expertise mastered within the company must be taken into account in order to facilitate the increase in skills of your teams and the integration of technology.

Customer experience & image: The app – in particular vs the positioning of your brand – can also be an investment in terms of image, which can justify the choice of native, in order to offer the best to the (sometimes small) base of your most loyal customers.

Customer profiles: The profile of your customers (CSP +, B2B customers with fleets) can also lead you to a particular choice of technology. Some luxury players are therefore choosing to develop natively on iOS and invest in a TWA (Trusted Web Activity) on Android.

If it remains difficult to measure the business impact of your choice, it is necessary to project it in a 3/5 year vision by integrating a broader vision of your generally omnichannel digital platform.

What Are The Main Strategies?

At USERADGENTS, among the various customers and prospects that we meet, a few major strategies emerge, which are summarized (and necessarily simplified) below:

“First Class”: They choose to optimize the experience application via native development (Swift & Kotlin) with the weight of the criteria below varying from one player to another (bank, food retail or luxury players are part of this category).

On the web, some adopt an almost app-only strategy (“Uber” like) and invest relatively little while others also offer the best of the web with sites in Javascript (React or Vue), PWA (Progressive Web App) compatible, and leaning – hang your belt – on headless CMS and micro-services and graphQL back-ends which serve as site & apps. The best.

Kotlin multiplatform, still recent, seems to offer an interesting pooling base for these players, without compromising on performance.

Business: These actors make a balanced choice. They use Flutter or React Native (depending on internal skills or functional), sometimes a mix of native development on iOS (to serve “premium” customers) and TWA (an application based on a PWA therefore from the “high-end web” “) on Android. Beware of the dependence on these intermediate frameworks which do not always go as fast as the OS and can sometimes be abandoned. These frameworks also try to integrate the web to offer a necessarily attractive “one code” experience.

Economic: They travel in eco, but take their customers to the same destination. These players do not have extremely developed “business” apps and therefore still offer an experience that is easier to access to their most loyal customers, but by maximizing the pooling of costs and management through the use of web solutions, often controlled internally, which can be “high end”, such as PWAs. Here too, the “one code” promise may appeal to some medium-sized players.

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