We fundamentally believe a successful patient engagement solution must be predicated by consumer demand. Patient IO was designed with the patient experience at the forefront of everything we do.
The latest report from Flurry, a leader in mobile analytics, shows native mobile app popularity continues to dominate & trend up while mobile web apps face a declining future. Consumers (or ‘patients’) are clearly spending significantly less time in mobile web browsers, and a majority of their time in apps that take advantage of their phone’s unique hardware, horsepower, and usability experience that native apps provide.
Challenges With Mobile Web
We have seen numerous mHealth solutions advertise mobile web capabilities because they offer a broad experience across the plethora of mobile devices in market today. While true to some degree, these solutions fail to mention the drawbacks of a mobile web solution and focus almost purely on the “one stop” benefit. It’s easier and cheaper to maintain a mobile web app than native apps – but at the expense of everything else including accessibility and overall popularity with user.
Why Native Apps Dominate
1. Native User Experience
iOS, Android, and Windows Mobile all have drastically different user interface patterns that users become accustom too. The best native apps in market today often embrace these unique discrepancies, while mobile web apps universally ignore them. It’s a detriment to the user experience to present an Apple-like web interface on a Windows or Android device can cause a lot of confusion. Mobile web solutions also fail to embrace native background services, like Push Notifications and GPS, which are useful features for user retention and engagement.
2. Connected Devices
The mobile web does not support connectivity to 3rd party devices and wearables via Bluetooth, USB, or proprietary connectors used in all major smartphones in market today. This makes it nearly impossible for a web-based mHealth solution to capture qualified health data from the popular devices consumers are using in their daily life. Demand for these devices is skyrocketing – consumers (and patients) are predicted to spend nearly $20 billion on wearable devices by 2018.
3. Takes Advantage Of Hardware
Native mobile apps provide an exceptional user experience vs the mobile web. Native apps are 10x-100x faster, they can access the phone’s camera and microphone, they can work when there’s no internet connection available, user interfaces can better adjust to changes in resolution & orientation, and support more accessibility functionalities included with the phone’s operating system like voice dictation.
The mobile web is starting to support more of the features above, but it’s not universal across Apple, Google, and Windows. Furthermore, the experience is often very buggy for the end user. Mobile web apps have their place and we use them within the Patient IO platform, but for the ultimate user experience – native apps rule and will always take priority at Filament Labs.