To gather insights for DZone's Native Mobile App Development Research Guide, scheduled for release in February 2016, we spoke to 18 executives who are developing mobile applications in their own company or helping clients do so.
Here's who we spoke to:
Dan Bricklin, CTO, Alpha Software | Adam Fingerman, Co-Founder and Chief Experience Officer, ArcTouch | Nishant Patel, CTO and Kurt Collins, Director of Technology Evangelism, Built.io | Tyson Whitten, API Management Product Marketing, CA Technologies | Rajiv Taori, VP Product Management Mobile Platforms Group, Citrix | Zach Slayton, VP Digital Technology Solutions, Collaborative Consulting | Brad Bush, COO, Dialexa | Craig Lurey, CTO and Co-Founder, Keeper Security | Jessica Rusin, Senior Director of Development, MobileDay | Steven Jovanelly, Senior Director, Innovation Lab, PGi | Brandon Satrom, GM Developer Platforms and Tools, Progress Software | Eddie de Guia, Co-Founder and Managing Director, PubNative | Hans Ashlock, Technical Marketing Manager, Qualisystems | Mark Kirstein, Senior Director of Enterprise Software, RhoMobile | Justin Bougher, Vice President of Product, SiteSpect | Carla Borsoi, Software Product Manager and Marketing Lead, 6SensorLabs | Lubos Parobek, VP of Products, Sauce Labs
We asked these executives, "What problems are being solved by native mobile apps - where is the greatest value being see?"
Three areas were mentioned:
- They enable users to get the most from their mobile devices with a seamless, smooth and intuitive UX.
- They give end users a dedicated space that allows them to accomplish a specific task, project or goal helping them be more productive.
- The speed at which the apps work is tremendously beneficial, as well as expected by end users.
Here's specifically what they told us:
- Ability to get the full benefit of the latest and greatest operating system. Non-native is behind the curve and their apps do not tend to be incredibly popular. Build native if you want the best app for every platform. Faster adoption and better engagement of the user. You can tell if an app is native or non-native. The original Facebook app was a wrapper and users hated it. Facebook made a massive change to native.
- Always fighting for limited real estate on the phone. Provide the consumer a dedicated space that provide exactly what they want with regards to doing different things, controls, patterns and interaction. Ensure the consumer that your app is able to do more, answer questions quickly and view their activity history. Our cell phones are more personal than other connected devices, they are an extension of our personal self.
- Users connect to the app to take advantage of the benefits it provides as such it must be query responsive - if the user wants to do something, the app enables them to do that. An advanced use case is being able to order at the nearest Starbucks via your mobile device. Enable users to take full advantage of the digital experience. Increase the stickiness of the app and the business improves.
- Ability to do things in a collaborative way. Retailers can co-sell and engage the customer - abstract themselves from backend systems, empower sales associates. This enables them to create a new level of relationship with the customer. Aggregate data from multiple different resources empower employees to provide a superior CX.
- GM mobile apps are improving the UX beyond regular maintenance and trips to the dealership. GM is able to build better relationships with their customers.
- Our partners range from utility, to games, and social apps. Each one provides an important value to their customer by offering a seamless, smooth, and intuitive experience to their users.
- Marketing and the customer-interface side is where a lot of money goes because polish matters when you’re redesigning the store be it brick and mortar, web or mobile app.
- The ideal native mobile app should be instructive and intuitive enough that its user just uses it without even thinking about it. An ideal native mobile app is “second nature” for its user, which is one of the biggest barriers to harnessing the power of technology. Truly native mobile apps enable ubiquitous health awareness, improve communication and social experiences, and make geo-specific retail and commerce a reality.
- Mobile is the platform. It now accounts for 50% of traffic. Think of the desktop as a mobile device. I use a tablet, a mobile device, as my desktop. Computing interfaces are disappearing into the background with mobile in the forefront. Virtual personal assistants (e.g. Siri, Google Now) are the next level. The mobile device is the stepping stone to the future as computing devices disappear. They understand us versus us understanding them. They’ll treat us and understand us as humans based on semantics and connotations. We will not need interfaces.
- Opportunities for companies to engage with customers. Enhance the brand experience and complement the UX. SkyJet is a client that had a website but wanted a more focused app for users of mobile devices to book flights and pay with Apple pay - a micro experience.
- Security, speed, accessing lower level functions of the device (i.e. address book, camera). How well the app performs on the device is critical as it provides more value from the mobile device.
- Not sure anything will be purely native moving forward. You may build in Swift but then access one or two screens that are web-based because it’s easier and the screens need to be seen on both platforms. We will see more hybrid apps. More frameworks are spinning up - React and React Native enable developers to write once. Xamarin is a client-side technology that helps achieve native performance using C Sharp to write for both platforms. You write the UI layer twice but the logic layer is the same.
- The app can fill the end user’s need at a particular point and time (e.g. Concur expense report app). When the mobile app knows when to pair with the desktop or laptop and does so automatically.
- Leverage the unique context and ability of the mobile device (GPS and camera). Add the most value for the customer and the enterprise.
- Designing inter-app workflows for people used to having microapps. People use a range of apps for a single workflow. Need to move data from one app to another (e.g. email, calendar, invite, make selection, open attachment and reply with comments). It’s the consumerization of IT. Experience must be responsive, easy, intuitive, and engaging. Allow people to seamlessly complete their work.
Where do you see the greatest value being provided by native mobile apps?