There is an evident abundance of native applications in the market which suggests a persistent trend of development and rightfully so, since native apps are obviously way smoother than your average mobile or a Hybrid application. Yet every platform has it’s perks depending upon the situation, such as the type of resources, time availability etc . If you want to build the next Foursquare, using geolocation and providing a means for displaying data and updating data, a hybrid app is a perfect solution and enables you to build it once, publish it through app stores, and have it work on several platforms.
User Interface/Experience Design for Web/Hybrid apps:
Every OS has its own signature user experience that transcends throughout the ecosystem, and meddling with that would mean betraying the user’s confidence and you might end up making the user feel stupid. The user’s are mostly accustomed to the general rules of the OS, like the gestures, controls and other such elements and an app designed keeping that in mind would maximise any learnability for the user.
As displayed above, the comparison shows how the two platforms have different real estate to put similar options
When designing a user experience for a Hybrid/Web application, we have to cut through these issues and make sure that we present a UI that lessens the learning part and make the experience more intuitive.
Tips to minimise trade-offs when designing a Hybrid/mobile app:
1. Know your platform:
Like any project you have to know what your working with, which means that you need to make sure know the pros and cons of the platform that the UI will be based upon. There are plenty of platforms that can help you build a great web/hybrid application but knowing there weakness and strengths will help you understand and let you make informed decisions, like designing controls ad navigations that are more feasible and easily implemented without any lag issues.
2. Do your research:
While on the drawing board, start sketching out different styles with wireframes and test them. You can come up different variations of the UX and prototype them with the help of different tools available online such as Flinto, Launch and POP etc and put it in front to users belonging to different breeds (OS users). This will help greatly in concising the sort of controls and gestures you can use to better the user experience of the application.
3. Don’t pick sides:
As a designer you should act as a neutral party and avoid any favorites while designing the User interface since this might cloud your judgement. A lot of times you might see an extensive use of iOS styled controls/gestures or the latter(android) implemented in a hybrid mobile application which might be one of the greatest sin since this might confuse the user’s or make it difficult to perform certain tasks in flawless fashion.
There should be no apprehension in experimenting with customised or even hybrid controls/gestures in a way that they have a higher learning curve.
4. Keep it Consistent:
Consistence is very a important factor to maximise the learnability which can be achieved by using design elements such as colors (for indication or used as markers) and real estate that is consistent throughout the app. This way the user will have a very smooth learning experience and easily be able to grasp the UI without having trouble figuring out anything.
Following are some of the major Hybrid/mobile platforms available:
Xamarin (CPNS):The Xamarin framework provides a .NET environment for your application to run on. The application is written in C#. Porting between platforms requires some complex development work.
Oracle ADF Mobile (Hybrid): Oracle Application Development Framework (ADF) mobile is a combination of Oracle ADF (JavaServer Faces (JSF)) and PhoneGap. This solution is ideal if you already have a large JSF deployment.
Pros and cons of mobile platforms:
• A cross-platform solution allows the same code to be run on multiple platforms, reducing development and maintenance cost.
• PhoneGap and ADF provide excellent support for existing Web content.
Cons (Third Party)
• Components sometimes look and feel incongruous with the device’s native UI.
• Not all new device features are immediately supported.
• Developers are dependent on a SDK to make things work.