Lecture Notes

Week 1: What is an app?

What is an app?

An app, abbreviated for “application” has three main identities in the mobile spectrum:

  1. Web App HTML: Responsive, delivered via a browser interface.
  2. Hybrid: Embed a mobile site inside a web app, essentially combining native apps and HTML 5 apps.
  3. Native: Applications that don’t need internet access and are platform dependent. The lecture cites Photoshop as an example of a native app.
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Figure 1 Deshsoft (N.D) “Types of Apps”. Graphic. Retrieved from: http://deshsoft.com/mobile-apps-development/

Native vs HTML 5:


A debate has ensued during the current decade between app developers over the effectiveness of each type. HTML5 is considered by many the more efficient of the two, as HTML5 designs allowed a durable experience via browsers, were aligned to already existing professions and they are generally more cost conservative than native apps. Stark, Jepson & Macdonald (2012), affirm some of the cons of native apps by revealing that native apps are often time consuming (in terms of idea formulation to eventually reaching the market, developers must code using Java, and developers need to pay to become an android app developer due to native apps being platform specific. Juxtaposing the cons, Stark, Jepson & Macdonald (2012) reveal there are several pros to native apps which include: developers can use several features of the highly capable devices available nowadays, and, have customers ready to go on app stores.


The Pros and Cons:

Pros Cons
HTML o   Quick to develop for already existing content.

o   Durable, making it for all platforms.

o   Poor user experiences.

o   Lack of functionality

o   Performance inferior compared to native.

Hybrid o   Appealing to internal teams that have skills in web design-average skill required.

o   Gives developers a chance to ‘blend’ some of HTML5’s qualities into native qualities.

o   Low/no bandwidth, meaning slow data processing.

o   No distinctive mobile functions.


Native o   UI (User Interface) and UX (User Experience) are fluent and appealing.

o   Use all a devices capability.

o   High bandwidth.

o   Easier to brand.

o   Durable in offline and online.

o   Superior security to HTML5.

o   High in cost.

o   Require developments for each specific platform, I.E, IOS, Android, etc.



Apps and Businesses:

Businesses are striving to take advantage of apps use by millennials. The Oracle study cited during the lecture, reiterates the point of making apps useable, as 55% of the people surveyed revealed a poor app experience would deter them from giving a company business. HTML5 and Hybrid apps are disappointing companies by their lack of consumer response, whereas native apps, are proving effective in the marketing segment.


What type of apps are there?

Currently, there are about 20 app categories on the store. As mentioned in the lecture, “games” are by far the most popular category on the app store.

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Figure 2 Statista (2015) Percentage of Device Installs. Graphic. Retrieved from:




The above infographic indicates the high demand of games on the app store. The lecture cites the six main app categories to: Utilities, Entertainment, Games, News, Productivity and Social Networking. The purpose of an app, is to make peoples lives’ easier.


What do we need to know about app design?:

  1. Users expect UI controls: Use familiar features to appeal to user.
  2. Touch Input (Gestures): Keep in mind that apps use touch qualities, not a mouse input.
  3. High resolution is here to stay: Higher pixel count, making texts and images appear sharper.
  4. Time is short: Quick functionality- design the interface design for a swift experience. Basic structure is extremely effective.
  5. Real-estate is tiny: Buttons need to be at least the size of a fingertip. Avoid placing buttons near the edge of the screen.
  6. Context is everything: usage scenario is dictated by the context, include relevant information and features.
  7. Wireframes are essential: useful way of planning user experience.



Stark, J., Jepson, B., & Macdonald, B. (2012). Building Android apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript (1st ed.). Beijing: O’Reilly.


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