Have you ever tried to fill in a web page form on your phone, for example, to buy air tickets for a family? I bet this was painful. This feature works only on top websites. When I buy cinema tickets on weekends, my first instinctive move is to try to do it on my phone, but I always end up doing this on my laptop. I guess it says something about my tolerance to torture. By the way, if I do a similar operation with a mobile app from the store, everything works like a charm. A coincidence? I don’t think so. Therefore, a relatively small screen of a phone is not the real source of the problem.
With over 50% of internet usage coming from mobile devices nowadays, web apps should be as fit for mobile devices as they are for desktop PCs. Is this actually the case? Hell NO!
Can web apps compete in any way against native mobile apps? Sad news for business – NO WAY. Of course, it would be so easy to have one website covering all kinds of devices instead of apps in every app store. But the bitter truth is that neither browsers nor web developers are able to be on par with the business need. If you don’t believe this judgment, think about the following:
1. Do you think web developers even care about what happens when your phone enters a sleep mode right after its screen is off? I feel this is hardly the case. Most likely, web developers don’t even have the tools to handle such situations. This is why we often see a web page reloaded after we get back to our phone. In native apps, there are appropriate mechanisms to preserve the state of the app if it gets unloaded by the system from the memory to save resources. Not sure it can be achieved in the web app.
2. Websites often display ads. Is it OK that while you read something on your phone an ad is appearing suddenly, causing confusion about where you’ve just been interrupted throughout the text, and you have to start from scratch? Even the fact that something jumps instead of appearing smoothly with a cute animation is unacceptable in the mobile world. Mobile apps got used to indefectible user experience with zero freezes. The content should appear right away without pauses, and nothing should interrupt the user’s interaction with the app.
3. Have you ever noticed your phone getting hot and draining the battery like a crazy? Probably in heavy games and… when you open a web page… Wait, what? A web page? Really? So, a phone with a Snapdragon 845 chip with 6GB RAM capable of running 3D games that even your game console would get hot of, struggles to show you a piece of text with animated images? LOL. Hold on, I just found the reason behind mobile devices short battery life :).
To summarize, I think browser makers might be already thinking about what will happen in 3-5 years. Evolution is probably not an option anymore. We need a revolution!