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    5 Reasons Why Native Apps are Better Than Web Apps


      Yesterday, Legal Productivity’s parent company Rocket Matter announced the launch of their native Android™ Time and Billing App for Lawyers. This comes on the heels of an update for our year-old native iPhone app.
      One question people have is, why bust your hump building different native apps? It would be a lot easier for us if we could build one web application and have all platforms access it. In fact, we have an optimized web app as a fall-back position until our apps were ready.
      But as the market has whispered to us, building native is a much better thing to do for our law firm customers. And here are five reasons why native apps are better than web apps:
      1) Native Apps Are Faster
      Web apps run in a smartphone’s browser, like Chrome or Safari. Browsers are responsible for executing HTML and JavaScript code to pull off their magic. HTML5 especially has a lot of impressive functionality, but the performance is not there. And speed to busy lawyers is a very important quality for a mobile app.
      According to this article analyzing smartphone performance, native apps run 5 times faster than JavaScript code. And different browsers execute JavaScript at different speeds. Not to go too technical on you, though I suspect I already have, but the code used to build web apps is, fundamentally, not built for optimal performance. The code frameworks we use to build native apps is highly tuned for speed.
      2) Native Apps Have A Better User Experience
      The iPhone and Android platforms are similar enough, but they each have their own visual differences. The UI elements used for selecting items, closing screens, and navigation are fundamentally different. In an iPhone app, it’s common to place the app navigation across the bottom of the screen. In Android, the convention is to press a button to bring up a menu.
      When you have a “one web app fits all” philosophy for a mobile experience, at least one group of users is going to use an app that does not look like a normal app for the system. We believe it is important to preserve the same experience of the phone you’re using, so you see the same buttons you’re used to seeing and use your navigation in the same way.
      3) Native Apps Take Advantage of Cameras, Microphones, and Other Phone Goodies
      Mobile browsers have access to GPS – and that’s a good thing. But if you want to work with the total awesomeness of the modern smartphone, your hands are tied.
      Androids and iPhones have microphones that allow attorneys to dictate notes. They have cameras that can capture receipts or act as makeshift scanners.
      4) Native Apps have better Offline Support
      One of the coolest things about HTML5 is that it can store data offline. However, there are two major hiccups here. One, you’re limited to storing 5MB of data offline. Second, users can choose to turn off mobile storage, and when you’re running a customer support department, the dizzying array of settings on a person’s device can present a training and sleuthing challenge.
      5) Our Customers Prefer Native
      Perhaps this is the most important takeaway for us. Our Rocket Matter users simply prefer having apps. There’s something to be said for the message matching the medium.
      To be sure, web apps have their place – like ours did while we worked on Android and iPhone apps – but for the ultimate user experience, native apps rule.
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