October 14th, 2015

The Key to Successful Hybrid Apps

Forget about the pros and cons of native vs. hybrid vs. web apps. You’ve decided that hybrid is the way for you to go and this is often the best way forward for enterprise app development. As with any IT project or website development, 80% of the success is in the preparation.

We’ve delivered 100+ hybrid apps over the past 5 years and here’s our recipe for success.

1. Understand the Problem You Are Solving
Don’t start scoping your mobile solution (whatever it is) until you truly understand the problem/need you’re solving with the app. Unfortunately we see most companies doing the opposite.

Interview the users to understand barriers, challenges and opportunities to improve their everyday tasks. Once you’ve started to identify the opportunities test them to get feedback.

2. Get the Core Use Case Right
9 out of 10 RFPs and app specifications we get consist of a long list of features. Often the reason is that they feel like the app needs to do everything the users ask for or that the competitors already have. If you want to be successful then get one core use case right.

3. Prototype and Design
Create a first prototype based on the core use case and test it with the users. Ensure that the app will really resolve the need in the context that they are in. E.g. an app to be used by a truck driver while driving needs to be voice controlled.

4. Choose Solution Architecture and Platform
The great advantage of hybrid apps is that you can combine the best of native app functionality such as push notifications, use of the camera, BLE and more with standard web technology. You can leverage existing responsive web sites and embed them within your app or develop new functionalities specifically for your app.

Once you’ve decided on the solution architecture you need to select your platform. There are lots of platforms to choose between for hybrid app development. The right platform for you depends on your experience, needs, competency, budget and preferred partner.

  • PhoneGap/Cordova – The most popular platform today based on open source and with a big development community
  • Titanium – The second biggest platform which is updated through innovation frequently and with a committed development community
  • Kony – One of the longest standing companies with a more selective development community
  • IBM Worklight / MobileFirst – Good platform for companies using one or more IBM solutions
  • SAP Mobile Platform – Good platform for companies using one or more SAP solutions
  • Sencha – Great platform to help you develop high performance, well-designed hybrid apps

And of course there are also a lot of other lesser-known platforms. Read more about the only mobile app cross-platform solution that works in our previous blog.

5. Iterative Development
Finally, it’s time to develop your mobile app. Develop a sprint plan that allows you to start testing with your end users as soon as possible and continue to refine your concept from the first sprint. Try to keep your scope to a maximum of 10-12 weeks’ development for the first launch. If your scope is greater, then split it up in smaller launch releases.

6. Test, Test, Launch and Continue to Improve
The initial launch is only the beginning of your journey to successful apps. No one will get it 100% right the first time. You need feedback from the users, real life usage data, performance and reliability data and other input to make your app truly useful and successful.

If you’re unsure about what impact a change will have then try the many excellent A/B testing tools out there.

In conclusion, preparation is everything. Out of the 6 points above only one is actual development. Hopefully these tips will ensure you build the best hybrid app for your specific use cases.

Magnus Jern, President Mobile Application Solutions

PS. Are you still trying to decide between native vs. hybrid vs. web? Download a complimentary copy of our white paper Mobile App Development – Which Platform is Best?

 

Tags: App development checklist hybrid apps mobile apps

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