Hybrid vs Native: Which One Is Better for User Experience?

In the age of smartphones, a usual day starts with rolling over to your nightstand and unlocking your phone to turn off your alarm, checking your sleep patterns from the night before, getting the day’s weather, and maybe even ordering some breakfast. Before we leave the house, we are reading the morning news on one of the downloaded news apps, we are lost in the latest crossword from the New York Times, or we might be rescheduling our appointments in our calendar app. There is an app for everything – and why not!

If you’re looking to build your own application, then one of the questions you’ll face early on is whether to build a hybrid or a native app. Given the number of platforms, independent financial constraints, market expectations, and business aspirations, each enterprise has its own reasons to either opt to develop a native app or a hybrid one. For the ones unable to decide, hybrid mobile app development proves to be the safer option given the ability for quick hosting, lower cost of development, and the assurance of a positive user experience.

It pays off to focus on user-centric experiences while going through the app development process, even in the case of PhoneGap Hybrid App Development. Let us review details that are instrumental in facilitating the choice between native and hybrid mobile application development.

Go All Out with Your Hardware

Are you developing a gaming app similar to Pokémon-Go? Is your app going to come with the need for heavy usage of a device? Will it involve snapping instant images from the user or scanned documents?

If you answer yes to the above questions then chances are you have already opted to develop a native app and rightfully so. When it comes to tapping the hardware capabilities of a device, hybrid mobile app development can’t match the efficiency of native apps. Given how the latter are developed specifically for the operating system, the hardware and application compatibility is required to be seamless. Enterprises focused on seamless hardware support, tend to develop apps for a single platform initially before moving on to other platforms. Instagram was one such success story, with many others that followed.

Using Applications Offline

Often users like to use certain apps as an escape. Meditation, instrumental music, podcasts, noise machines, and many other apps are used offline. In the case of hybrid apps, HTML5 offers cache to a certain extent, but that isn’t good enough to compete with the offline experience of native apps.

The option to do more with smartphones without the Internet is powering the growth of apps that can be used in offline mode. Gaming enterprises, after a successful stint in the domain of online multiplayer gaming, are now looking to return to their roots and offer users the discretion of going offline while playing a game. Not every gaming episode needs to be synced with an online scoreboard.

If you are looking to offer your potential users an impeccable offline experience, go native. Hybrid Mobile Application Development can offer reasons to be happy about your app’s offline functionality but it won’t go far enough. Looking to go full throttle offline with your app? The best option is to develop a native app.

Getting Your Apps to Work Faster

Imagine all this happening in a single second: your app suffers a lag causing a news article to take an extra 2 seconds to load. Your application crashes, making the user look like a fool in the middle of their presentation. Even worse, in an instant, the user can uninstall the app, and move on to your competitor leaving you to doubt the success of your whole business model. As you can imagine, in the business of app marketing, a single second can make all the difference.

Back in 2012, when Mark Zuckerberg was riding high on the success of Facebook, he confessed how going hybrid was one of the biggest mistakes made when it came to their app development. Shortly afterward, the company switched over to native apps from Hybrid Mobile App Development, and the rest is history. It’s not every day that you get to hear from an entrepreneur who services billions of people across the globe. Speed is of the essence for many businesses.

Consistency with the Operating System

As discussed above, native apps are built on an individual operating system, while hybrid mobile app development is more about cross-platform app development models. Hybrid App Developers will tell you how Hybrid apps are the easier choice if one is looking to cut costs, do away with frequent updates and cut out complicated maintenance. However, taking this shortcut might cause your audience to short-circuit their relationship with your app, which is why it could help to invest in a consistent OS experience via a native app instead of Hybrid Mobile App Development.

As it has been proven time and again, native apps are unparalleled when it comes to utilizing the numerous OS features, enabling an enhanced user experience that is unmatched on almost every front, ensuring your audience has nothing to complain about. Quite often, many famous news apps, magazine groups, publishers, and enterprises have failed in app development because they left the success up to their content or brand image. Eventually, they learned from their mistakes and made the necessary changes.

With so much discussion upon the Native vs Hybrid app battle, let’s get a more comprehensive comparison on both their quick wins.

Quick Wins of Native Apps Quick Wins of Hybrid Apps.
Easier in testing and debugging. Simple to maintain
Higher Performance Lower performance
Native User Interface gives the liberty to learn the app quickly for its users. Portability ( multiple platforms but one code base)
It has access to device software or hardware (Calendar, GPS, location, shake) Through plug-ins it can have access to various hardware/ software capabilities.
Comparivity easy to be discovered in various app stores (Google play store or Apple app store) Comparatively it takes faster time to market, initially.
Comparatively better user experience Cost-effective organization costs.
Can Function in offline mode as well. Cannot function in offline mode and needs internet connectivity to function.
Requires more effort and developers Suitable for BYOD programs/ Device friendly.
Required programming language- (Java for android, Swift for ios) HTML, Javascript, CSS.

Diving in to few more Native vs Hybrid Apps differences:

Native  Hybrid
Single for each platform Multiple Platforms
Best performance Usually slower
Higher Compatibility with other apps on the device. Less compatibility with other on device apps.
Platforms like SDK allows access to all device APIs Access to mobile devices depends on the tool.


Each approach comes with its distinct advantages and disadvantages.

  • Native Apps provide the luxury of exploring native features and offer a better user experience for your users.
  • A hybrid app will ensure cross-platform of the app quickly with a limited budget.

But in the long run, the biggest flaw of hybrid apps is that companies will have to spend more time fixing and tweaking the app because of user complaints about the UI elements or performance-driven issues.

The company’s primary intention should be to provide an excellent user experience and deliver an industry-standard app performance, even if the original investment is higher.

In most cases, these aspects are well taken care of in the development phase and potential problems are put to rest before the app is completed. The bottom line is that if you are looking to ensure a flawless user experience, the choice between hybrid and native mobile app development is up to you, along with the fate of your app. Make your choice wisely.

Where to Learn More

To learn more about how to design for mobile, check out the specialized course Mobile User Experience (UX) Design, taught by the CEO of ExperienceDynamics, Frank Spillers.

If you’re just beginning your journey in User Experience, consider taking the course Become a UX Designer from Scratch.

For in-depth explanations of different UX-related topics, check out the world’s largest open-source library of UX literature here.

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