The App Dilemma

This is exactly how I feel about mobile app development.

One the one hand, you have a nice easy path to the final app. Your app works on all of the major mobile platforms (let's just say android and iOS for arguments sake), you have one (or at least, close to one) codebase to maintain, and it probably hooks into each of the native APIs quite well too.

But... The app probably won't win any design awards. It'll probably have a broken experience (relatively speaking) compared to the native apps available on that platform too. Users may not quite understand how to interact with it, because it doesn't quite meet the interaction standards that the specific platform proposes. Sure, you can force it to act like it does (maybe by mapping the android back button to a specific action), but overall the app probably just won't "feel right".

Then you have the native route. Your app will look fantastic, it'll work across all the different devices available on a specific platform as it should (because you followed the specific development guidelines, you did right? Right...? o_O). Users won't even have to read your FAQ or send you an email, because the app works just like all the other great native apps they're used to using on their device. You might even get mentioned on a Tumblr blog.

It's a difficult choice to make. One invariably costs (and not just monetary cost) more than the other, and will probably take a bit longer to get there too. But the end result will should be a lot better. The type of audience an app is targeted at should be included in the decision, not very tech-savvy? Maybe you might just get away with a non-native app... As long as you're happy to handle the grumblings of a few purists (um... not mentioning any names...!).