It’s pretty fair to say that native apps offer the best mobile user experience. Designed purely for mobile devices, there are no compromises made for larger screens, while they can call on systems like iOS7 and Apple’s Quartz Composer to power their features. The results make for some stunning UX with smooth transitions and layered parallax effects – just look at Facebook’s Paper app as an example.
WebSocket is another performance booster, offering a quicker alternative to AJAX for real-time communication between a web browser and a server. Basically, this cuts out some work on the HTTP requests and data can be sent any time – making it ideal for live-chat, online gaming and customer service.
Web Storage offers up an alternative to cookies, allowing data to be stored locally in a much cleaner way. While cookies send stored data upon every server call, web storage holds on to the data and stores it in the browser until it is closed.
Application Cache stores enough information so that users can access your entire website offline – which means those annoying connection drops don’t have to interrupt their session. Likewise, if your site is down for maintenance, users can access the “offline” version while you get your site back up and running.
Expect To See More Single Page Applications
Single page applications (SPAs) mean users don’t have to load or reload pages every time they navigate to a new section. This breaks the traditional infrastructure of a website built with pages and moves closer towards native applications.
Single page websites had their spell in 2013, but they come with a number of SEO disadvantages once you break away from the navigation and page structure that search engines use to index content. This will undoubtedly hold up the adoption of SPAs from a business perspective, but you have to say the concept of removing unnecessary page loads is a massive improvement for user experience.
Think Device, Not Screen Size
Wearable technology is upon us and web browsers have found their way into cars and all sorts of devices. The Internet of Things is here and if you think multiple devices means mobile, tablet and desktop then you have some catching up to do.
Google Glass packs a browser (XE7) with a resolution of 640×360 which users can control with voice, touch and head movements. Samsung TVs have been using voice and movement gestures for years now and you are looking at Ultra HD resolutions these days.
The mobile-first approach to responsive design aims to start from the bottom and work its way up to create a single website that works across all devices. It’s the best solution we have so far, but we need to ditch the concept of “mobile” development and move into a more holistic mindset for the plethora of connected devices about to hit the market.