NB: This is a guest post from David Thomson, chief executive of Momentum Design Lab and Bynd.
The current mobile conundrum is that there is no “one size fits all” solution.
Selecting which mobile strategy suits you best depends highly upon the intended user experience.
For the more sophisticated, some would argue that a combination of these solutions offers the best returns on mobile investment.
To give you the lay of the land on what mobile strategy to choose, we have assembled some quick overviews:
Go Native if:
If you have high levels of usage and engagement in your platform and need the performance that coding native will give you across Android, iOS, Win 8 and BB10. Companies with large user bases, expected high usage rates, and the need for intensive graphic processing should develop native mobile applications. It may also benefit you to program natively if you are a 'mobile first' company that will not be going down the web route. Keep in mind the amount of time and resources needed to make a native app really great.
Go Browser-based (Native wrapper) if:
You want to use a single HTML5 technology such as JQuery Mobile or Sencha Touch to work across several platforms with only the native wrapper to control your installation.
When building your project in HTML5 you simultaneously accomplish your mobile site, as the same code can be run uncached via URL. Most companies benefit greatly from this approach as the HTML5 framework is approaching near-native performance.
Go Responsive if:
Your company possesses a significant amount of user experience design and development resources capable of maintaining a great brand experience across all unique screen layouts, targeted device resolutions, and screen orientations. The notion of having one website that can work well on web, mobile and tablet can be really powerful, especially when you’re talking about SEO. Unfortunately, most current responsive designs dilute the overall user experience to accommodate all use cases. The upcoming release of Adobe Edge Reflow will change this for designers.
Go Mobile Site if:
Your site analytics show you need it. As the principal of a UX firm we opted not to do a mobile UI. The reason: less than 1% traffic comes from mobile devices.
If you have the traffic to justify this, choose an HTML5-based solution, responsive design method, or build small format html pages with larger elements for touch. One of the benefits of doing a mobile site is that it can run on any mobile browser unlike native apps that can only run on specific platforms.
For many companies with more complex needs and multiple user experiences across channels, a combination of the approaches may be best.
NB: This is a guest post from David Thomson, chief executive of Momentum Design Lab and Bynd
NB2: Mobile image via Shutterstock