5 questions to determine if you need a stand-alone native app

You can probably imagine a situation where managers or power users demand a native business app to run on their iPads and phones. And despite numerous drawbacks of native apps vs. web apps you will hear justifications why web apps aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. So here are five questions we recommend are good guideline to decide whether a native app is actually a venture worth having.

  1. Is the service you’re planning to develop/the user asked for already available is a responsive website? If not, why not?
  2. What is the functionality required that only a native app can provide?
  3. Is there evidence of demand for such an app among your target group? Is that general demand or specifically for a native app?
  4. Are there any commercial apps that already meet such a user need?
  5. Is developing a native app justified? Costs vs. benefits?

Naturally there will be conclusions where developing a native application, despite the lifetime cost, is the right thing to do. However it is recommendable to put a responsively designed web service first and only create a native app using the APIs of that service. That has the added benefit that even users that do not have an app installed get a basic / non-enriched experience. Apart from that producing APIs is a smart way to enable more and potentially better apps from 3rd parties to emerge.

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