Long gone are the days when computers and PCs were predominant devices for people to surf the Internet. Technology has seen great advancements and people are now increasingly using mobile devices of varying screen sizes that run on different platforms, like Android, Windows, iOS etc. However, advent of tablets, smartphones and phablets has also brought challenges for businesses to develop web apps that are fit for multiple devices.
This blog explains important factors a developer needs to take into consideration before beginning to develop a web app for multiple devices. But first, let’s talk about why so much hype has been created around web apps when other solutions like native apps and hybrid apps are also available.
Web apps are the future because unlike native apps that require installation through an app store, they can be easily accessed through different browsers on different devices. Nowadays, there is an app for everything, but a user has to deal with storage issues as a mobile app on an average weighs 20MB. It’s not possible for a user to install every mobile app that appears of use due to non-availability of such a gigantic storage space on mobile devices. A web app is the best solution as it’s only 1/20th of the size of a mobile app and users can access it with ease by entering a URL in a browser. Users don’t even need to remember a URL for a web app, as it can be easily bookmarked for future use.
By going for a web app, businesses can also save significant costs as they do not need to create heavy updated versions of mobile apps, which also takes the data burden off from a user as they no longer need to update their mobile apps time and again. So, it won’t be wrong to say that web apps create a win-win situation for both owners and users.
There are so many benefits of a progressive web app, but it’s not at all easy to create one that works flawlessly on multiple devices. Custom mobile app development companies are required to take cognizance of popular operating systems, software, hardware bugs, hardware limitations, different screen sizes, resolution, browser and other issues to develop an immaculate web app for multiple devices.
Programmers need to apply themselves a little more than what they do in case of native apps. For instance, a Firefox browser behaves differently on iOS phones than it does on Android ones. So, developers need to do debugging to fix browser-specific issues, ensuring smooth functionality of a web app on cross platforms.
The main aim of any app is to attract users through quality content on a wide range of screen sizes, which makes it paramount to know about different resolutions on various devices. Efficacy of features on different devices vary as contexts of usage are different, therefore a developer needs to identify how a user will use the product. Smartphones are used as alternatives to desktop, which is why it’s important to design a mobile web app that focuses on core function and activities users look forward to, unlike a website that gives immersive experience to desktop users. A very good example of this is Google’s mobile website which offers you different items in the navigation compared to its desktop website.
Your web app must enable interactions and functionality in an effective manner for multiple devices. It’s very essential for a developer to know strength and weaknesses of each device and figure out how your web app will behave when a user leans back, leans forward, remains stationary or go mobile. With cloud computing solutions such as AWS deployment services, web apps are evolving as cloud apps.
Advantages of cloud apps
Can be accessed through web browser.
Data is present in cloud infrastructure.
Offers support for data backup, security, backup schedule etc.
Reduces costs of installing your own servers.
Provides you a scalable solution to handle sudden rise in traffic.
Provides you an on-demand solution for Test, Load, Beta and Pre-Production Environments.
For a web app, creating a device group could provide you significant help in managing the diversity of screen sizes. Consider the below example to understand how you can put together devices of same widths in one group.
Tiny: 84, 96, 101, 128, 130, 132
Small: 160, 176
Medium: 208, 220, 240
Large: 320, 360, 480+
By creating a default reference design, it becomes easier to make a web app adaptable to smaller and larger screens. Display should be eye-catchy, therefore you must define rules for content and design adaptation. Going for web standards and flexible layout helps in providing a great experience to web app users on multiple devices. It’s also important to keep file size and load times down to provide a good user experience.
You need to be smart with placements of elements as less screen size is available on mobile devices. HTML5, CSS3, and web fonts are some examples of latest improvement in programming languages to design web apps that are scalable and adaptable to multiple devices. jQuery is worth trying for developing a web app as it has a widget library capable of converting semantic markup into a gesture-friendly format. It especially helps your web app perform operations on touch-screens.
Developers also need to pay heed to different user interface guidelines being offered by iOS, Android, Windows and other platforms for mobile devices. Developers can seek help from online forums as well to find answers to questions pertaining to web app development for multiple devices. These tips will help you as a developer to gain insight into important factors need to be taken under consideration to develop a web app for multiple devices.