Week 1: What is an App?

So what exactly is an app?

App is the abbreviated word for application. An application being a software program designed to perform a specific function directly for the user or in to assist.

Types of Apps

There are 3 types of Apps that target mobile devices:

  1. The Web App also known as HTML 5
    Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 13.26.36
    User Interface and User Experience which is a responsive web design to make a web application whether its a conventional website or a single page application viewable on small screens or touch screens.
  2. Hybrid
    Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 13.26.41
    The Hybrid App combines elements of both native and web apps. Often mentioned in the context of mobile computing. Hybrid Apps imbed a mobile website inside an active app. Possibly using a hybrid frame. This allows development using web technologies and possibly copying code directly from existing mobile website whilst also retaining certain advantages of native apps.
  3. Native
    Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 13.26.46The native app runs directly on a mobile device for a particular platform or device, Ex. IOS for Mac or Android. Native apps run directly in the mobile device just as a conventional software run directly on a desktop computer. Just like Photoshop as it doesn’t need a web browser and doesn’t need an internet connection. Being a single platform.

Which Apps is better for mobile devices: HTML vs. Native?

Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 13.42.19.png

HTML 5 was often seen as a reasonable app due to its ability to be responsive on all devices. However, research has shown that mobile experience has a huge impact on how a users view a brand. So much so that a recent oracle study has found that more than half (55%) of those surveyed said a poor app experience would put them off using a companies product.

Unsure of what app to use? Well we have gathered the pro’s and con’s to help you decide which app best suits your needs.

Web App (HTML)
Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 13.26.36
– A quick option for making existing content
– Only needs to be built once and would be usable on every device

– User experience is inferior
– Performance is also inferior
– It’s an app world


Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 13.26.41

– A mobile app built HTML5 gives you the ‘space’ on a user’s phone that can be used to bridge some gaps between native and mobile websites.
– HTML5 or hybrid (wrapped) apps attractive for internal teams that have web skills.

– No bandwidth issue
– No unique mobile functions


Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 13.26.46

– UI and UX smooth and engaging
– Device capabilities optimized
– Faster load times compared to web apps
– Robust performance in online and offline mode
– Better discoverability and brand image
– Superior security compared to HTML5

                                    – Required development for each mobile platform
– Expensive
So to put it into perspective…
Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 13.57.39.png
What type of apps are there?

Currently there are about 20 app categories on the App Store. Ranging from games to travel to medical and navigation.

Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 14.02.21.png
From this chart we can reduce the app types down to 6 basic app categories:

  1. Utilities
  2. Entertainment
  3. Games
  4. News
  5. Productivity
  6. Social Networking

As designers, what do we need to know about app design, now that we have web design experience? If you are moving from developing web to developing apps there are a few specific rules you will need to consider:

1. Users expect familiar user interface (UI) controls
2. Touch input – Gestures change everything
3. High resolution is taking over you need to consider this for the device you are designing for.
4. Time is short users want to be able to access information as quick as possible
5. The real estate is tiny. Don’t place buttons in small places or high or to low places buttons should also be no smaller than a finger tip.
6. Context is everything
7. Wire framing is essential.

These notes have been made to help students like myself keep in mind what we need to do as designers to create an interactive app. For my app, I have been able to put it into a specific category and having an understanding of what specific rules I need to follow to allow my app to reach its full potential.


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