Mobile Applications

Mobile phone usage is such a regular thing in this day and age. I can remember when applications (apps) were first becoming more and more prevalent we always used the phrase “there’s an app for that”. But now there really are thousands of apps that can do just about anything now. Back in 2015 it was estimated that 80% of people would be using their mobile phones to access the internet, and that number has continued to grow since (Hsu, Y.C.).

Types of apps

There are 3 main types of app based on how they interact with your phone. The first type is Native. A native app interacts with what is already on your phone such as the camera, GPS, fingerprint, etc. This type allows you to interact with the app without having to have an Internet connection because it is downloaded to your device. They are great for user friendly interactions but can be difficult to adapt to other platforms as it is designed specifically for your phone.

The second type of app in a web based app. This requires your phone to have the ability to connect to the Internet. An example of this would be Google maps, the app connects to the Internet and pulls the information from that supplying it to you you via the app interface. This type of app requires less maintenance as it is connected to the information on the web, so as that changes so does the app. The downside is the requirement to be connected to the internet and users may not always have access causing the app to now work.

Lastly is a hybrid app. This app uses the interface and wire framing of a native app but also uses functions to connect to the Internet. Hybrids use both technologies making it easy to change platforms and adapt to the device’s functions. This type is probably the easiest to design due to its adaptability and functionality across both web and device based design.

Each type of app can be successful when used correctly. It is important to know how you want to present your product to your audience. All of the types have both pros and cons so it is important if you are designing the app or working with a client that you define how you want it to look and function before starting the design. (Xue, Z.)

Designing your app

Similarly to when you are designing a website you need to have a clean and user-friendly interface. You will likely have at least 2 different people designing your app. One designer for the front end (what the user sees), and the other for the back end (the code and how the app will function with the technology). This is a collaborative effort as the front end will give the back end everything they need to know about the design including the colors, layouts, photos, copy, links, etc. The back end will then take that information and look at how it will function in code giving feedback to the front end if anything is not going to work. This process continues back and forth until an app is created.

Having a graphic design background I understand the collaboration that comes between a front-end designer and a back end coder. It is important to be flexible yet also detailed with your design in each stage and to always keep the functionality from a consumer’s perspective as a main focus.


Hsu, Y.C., Rice, K. and Dawley, L., 2012. Empowering educators with Google’s Android App Inventor: An online workshop in mobile app design. British Journal of Educational Technology43(1), pp.E1-E5.

Joorabchi, M.E., Mesbah, A. and Kruchten, P., 2013, October. Real challenges in mobile app development. In Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement, 2013 ACM/IEEE International Symposium on (pp. 15-24). IEEE.

Xue, Z., 2016. Mobile App Development.

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