RWD in mobile apps – is it any good?

Krzysztof Gudowski 27 Mar 4 min read

The truth is: using RWD as a core of your mobile application reduces the time, cost and involvement normally needed to develop native applications which are scaled to each of the mobile platforms individually. But easy ways are unlikely the best ones.

While this kind of the solution may seem interesting from the development costs perspective, it can lead to a deterioration of your company repute. In the world where mobile is becoming the core of many businesses, are you sure you can afford to loose an opportunity to shine brightly at first sight?

User behaviors & expectations

When the mobile apps were being created at the beginning of smartphones era, designers were looking for the correct patterns to use. It was a natural thing that most of the first mobile apps were based on the web design strategies. During next few years we learned a lot about user behaviors and expectations. Mainly thanks to advanced analytic tools we use these days. That’s why we know, that users are looking for additional values, which they could find through the installed app.

If you want to simply reuse what you have already on your website – both as a design copy or RWD – in the best case, users won’t see a reason to install the app. In the worst – they will be irritated by a lack of mobile-oriented functionalities available in the operating system and will leave negative comments in the Google Play or Apple App Store.

RWD vs mobile

We get used to how web browsers are rendering the content, the same as we know how the mobile app should behave. That’s why it’s really easy to see if the UI you are seeing is a website or a native UI component. Even if the user is not experienced in technology, progressive loading of RWD websites/graphics will look sluggish for them, ending up with the opinion that app is slow and strangely unresponsive. What seems good in the web browser, won’t be pleasing in the app as the psychologic expectations are higher and that’s one of the reasons why we are leaving websites and just decide to install the app.

That said, even the best-designed website is not able to compete with native solutions on mobile devices. Dedicated interface, even with the data based on the current web-based CMS system not only looks better but is also more responsive and does not require reloading the page inside web browser engine which is completely out of your control.

Mobile apps vs RWD comparison, Miquido

Connection matters

You have to assume that your app users are on the move, and not always fitted with good Internet connection. Today, we are constantly switching Wi-Fis when available, creating hotspots if necessary, using LTE a lot, yet still, some problems might occur. And all this is happening while commuting – our everyday-life natural need. Mind that, because “the move” was a trigger which has built the whole mobile business.

Even if your client is not online, you should handle it correctly, rather than just blocking him from using the app or presenting nasty popups. The current industry-standard approach is that even with the low-quality connection, you should display an initial view of the content you are loading – with the proper indication that it may take a little bit more time to display it due to internet connection issues.

This approach is used by those companies, for which “mobile-first strategy” is not just an empty statement, and help them to refrain from negative reviews posted by users who cannot see their data instantly (what they obviously expect). In the case of no connection native apps give you an access to the caching system and your historical data in the app. If you are looking for good examples how it may be handled, just open Facebook or Allegro apps with slow internet connection in place.

Finally, users of mobile applications are becoming more aware of what they expect, which ends up with the growing expectations regarding the products that are made for them. It’s a good thing to show a dedication to the user and leave him with the app which not only gives an additional value on their pricey and shiny phones but also is fun to use and leave a good impression about your company.

If you want us to show you a couple of examples how RWD based apps impact businesses, feel free to contact us. We will be happy to bound through it with you and help you to set up the best possible direction.

Head of Sales at Miquido

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