- Use responsive layout
- Consider platform-specific guidelines
- Learn the business purpose of the app
- Take care of the performance
- Summary: To ensure the hybrid app is consistent across all platforms…
We’ve already written a piece on the differences between native and hybrid apps, and today we will focus on the latter. More specifically, how do the hybrid app design and development processes go smoothly?
Use responsive layout
To make the app work well on different devices, you must ensure that it provides the user with a consistent and coherent experience regardless of the platform. So, before you start designing your application, you need to determine the platforms on which it will be displayed, as this will dictate the entire development process.
Once this is established, the design team gets to work on creating a responsive layout, which is an approach that allows all elements of the app, such as text, images, and buttons, to adjust automatically to different screen sizes and devices.
At the design stage, this includes using flexible design elements, like grids and containers, and relative units, like percentages for sizing and positioning elements (instead of fixed units like pixels).
Consider platform-specific guidelines
When designing a hybrid app, you need to keep in mind the specific design and feature guidelines for each platform. Android and iOS have some similarities, but they also have their own unique design patterns. As a designer or programmer, you should be familiar with these patterns to use them effectively.
For example, when it comes to navigation, iOS puts a lot of importance on back buttons and breadcrumb trails, whereas Android leans more towards using a drawer menu for navigation. Additionally, iOS usually places tab bars at the bottom of the screen for navigation, while Android tends to use a navigation bar at the top.
Both platforms use gestures for navigation, but the gestures themselves differ slightly. For instance, on iOS, swiping from the left edge of the screen usually results in a back action, whereas on Android, swiping from the left edge of the screen opens up the drawer menu.
You need to understand how native components work so they streamline your work instead of doubling it.
Learn the business purpose of the app
You must also know the app’s business goal because it dramatically impacts the design and development process, especially the testing stage. For example, suppose you’re creating a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and want to verify a business idea quickly. In that case, you might want to use more ready-made, native elements instead of designing new solutions. Sure, it won’t work perfectly on all devices, but that’s not necessarily the goal in such a case. You want to be quick and efficient, not perfect.
On the other hand, if you are designing a new version of a mature app whose users are accustomed to high functionality and speed, you will want to use as many native features as possible. Different business stages and goals of the app will determine the nuances of its development process.
Take care of the performance
Even though native apps are generally faster, hybrid apps can still be made to run smoothly. It just takes a little extra effort and care: designers and developers need to use optimized images and videos, reduce the number of external libraries and frameworks, and keep app assets like icons and fonts as small as possible. And sometimes even reconsider using an element at all or at least changing it dramatically.
For example, when designing a table with a hundred elements, you should first consult it with your programming team. Chances are, such a complicated element would work well on a native app but slightly slow down a hybrid version. Therefore, it would be better to use pagination or other optimization techniques.
Summary: To ensure the hybrid app is consistent across all platforms…
- Determine the platforms beforehand and create a responsive layout using techniques like flexible elements and relative units,
- Learn iOS and Android guidelines and use native elements consciously and responsibly,
- Learn the business goal of an app as it affects the design and development process, especially the testing stage,
- Utilize all possible optimization techniques to improve performance, especially in the case of a large or complicated object.