Mobile Approaches Roundtable: Hybrid vs. Native vs PWAs

August 26, 2020
Aug 11, 2022
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Mobile Approaches Roundtable: Hybrid vs. Native vs PWAs

With mobile usage at an all-time high, many organizations are looking to tackle mobile projects, whether to improve existing experiences or craft new ones. As a mobile leader, it’s critical to get your approach right to ensure success.

Recently, we hosted a webinar with a panel of experts to discuss how to evaluate the trade-offs between the top three mobile approaches: hybrid, native, and progressive web apps (PWAs). We discussed how these mobile approaches can stack up in critical business areas like speed, flexibility, risk, and more. 

The discussion was moderated by 1904labs’ Mobile Project Lead, Julius Ming’ala and included three mobile experts: Connor Besancenez, a mobile software engineer at 1904labs, Nathan Causey, enterprise mobility architect at Edward Jones, and Ken Zheng, CEO of Takoda.


Below are a few of the questions asked and key takeaways from our speakers. You can also watch the full replay.

What Is Your Secret Sauce to a Great Mobile Experience? 

As far as our panelists’ secret ingredient to their success, Zheng mentioned that creating an interface that is relevant to your client or, in his case, patients, is a very important step you cannot miss. “Keeping that customer experience in mind and keeping things very simple and easy to grasp is my secret ingredient,” said Zheng

Agreeing with Zheng, Besancenez stated, “Simplicity is a big thing and making sure your users are familiar with each and every platform. User experience and design go hand in hand with good experiences.” 

Carrying on the theme of engaging with your customers, Causey stated, “Listen to your customers and what they need and fulfill that with your app. If you are going to put this out, you need to get feedback and testing from those who will use it.” 

What Factors Do You Consider When Deciding On a Mobile Approach?

First, Causey mentioned the three biggest considerations right off the bat. He said, “Time. Budget. And what skills you have in house.”

Zheng mentioned that it all depends on what stage the company you are working with is at and determining what capabilities they require.

Besancenez suggested taking a business and technical perspective into consideration. “The business standpoint and who we are targeting is important... From a technical standpoint, what does my team already know and how complex is the application I am building?”

What Are Some of the Tradeoffs Among the Three Mobile Approaches?

Like any technologist passionate about mobile, our panelists had a lot to say about hybrid, native, and PWAs. “I think that amongst the three, PWAs get the job done. Hybrid is possible to get an experience that fools the user into thinking they’re interacting with a native app, but overall, hybrid leads to a lesser experience. Native costs the most,” said Zheng

“With the native platforms, they are set by the vendors, and they are never going away. In an enterprise setting, I would tend not to use PWA,” said Causey

What Mobile Approach Did You Use For a Successful Application?

It’s all about innovation according to the moderator, Ming’ala. Besancenez took us through his approach to setting up his mobile application projects. Sticking with what you know and being prepared is key. 

“Every time I start a mobile project, I look at requirements and the skill sets. I would decide if I am comfortable with the framework and the requirements in the beginning... 'I don’t use a technology I don’t know. Stick with what you know and what you will be successful with,” concluded Besancenez

What Are Some of the Harder Lessons You Learned On Your Mobile Journey?

Knowing what your team can handle, having a backup plan, and being able to adapt are all important lessons our panelist learned from not so successful mobile development projects.

Their closing advice: 

Zheng: “Learning what stage the majority of your team and the project is at are crucial in making a decision of how to choose native, hybrid, or progressive,”
Besancenez: “Don’t be afraid to branch out but be prepared to have solutions if things change. Make sure there is always one native solution. Have a backup plan and be prepared from a technical standpoint to not marry one product. If you do, you may end up needing a full rewrite.”
Causey: “Do not treat mobile differently from other things. Specifically, take care of it and don’t forget about it. Look at those feedback items and reviews. If it is not working out, take a stance, and make a change.”

View the Full Webinar