Author: Alan Brown
Banking app development should exist alongside feature-rich, responsive banking websites to cover all customer touch points.
Much has been written about how the uptake of mobile and tablet apps will accelerate the demise of web browser services and an equal amount written stating the contrary case that the ubiquity and converging standards of the modern web browser will close out the diverging native app ecosystems.
I’d argue that there’s a huge opportunity for both solutions to flourish in the almost limitless arena of mobile and tablet services.
The ecosystem and talent pool
Software developers possessing native app experience are low in numbers and high in demand, and with the need to build native app solutions two or three times in radically different technologies and environments to cover the main mobile and tablet platforms, it’s clear why most companies would at least start with a well-designed responsive web solution.
On the other hand, the talent pool of developers with web skills is broader and often already found in-house. The challenge comes if these developers haven’t evolved as fast as modern web browsers to take advantage of HTML5 with rich media support, the ability to access device camera and audio, store data offline and respond to server events.
Marketing: The power of pixels
Where mobile and tablet apps have a huge advantage over the web browser is in sheer visibility. Every new app install jumps onto the device home screen with an icon, small in stature, but every bit as prominent as the 120 x 120 pixels of the email client, facebook/twitter app or even the browser itself.
It’s a product marketer’s dream solution: the latest download remains highly visible and not condemned to a wildly overflowing list of bookmarks or browser history.
While it’s possible to add web shortcuts to device home screens it’s a clumsy, manual and user driven process.
Consumption versus creation
Taking banking as a reference case, data might show mobile and tablet usage growing rapidly, but still lagging behind desktop use.
But consider a different picture, where users regularly using mobile and tablets to check balances and recent transactions but reverting to desktop and laptop banking for adding new payees, editing standing orders and requesting overdrafts.
It’s a classic scenario of ‘consumption on the go’ versus ‘creation at the desk’.
Where a well-designed responsive web solution will really outperform a native app is in future operation on new devices and operating systems.
It’s very difficult to predict which devices and operating systems will be released and even harder to predict which will be successful in time to develop a native solution for the booming user base.
We can, however, be confident that these new devices will have an HTLM5-compliant web browser, so immediately covering niche product users or early adopters of the next big thing.