Monthly Archives: April 2013

A Web vs. Native Tablet App Experience Analysis: A&E

A Web vs. Native Tablet App Experience Analysis: A&E

In my last article, “How Native Tablet Applications Can Inspire Better Tablet-Optimized Websites”, I outlined several principles from native apps that can be leveraged to improve browser-based web experiences on tablets.

As an example of the experience gap between many browser-based web experiences that haven’t been optimized for tablet use and native applications on tablet devices, let’s take a look at the A&E TV web vs. iPad experience to determine which experience better facilitates user tasks on a tablet device. For those not familiar with A&E, it is a United States-based cable and satellite television channel with the tagline: “Real Life. Drama.”

While research should be done to validate A&E’s users’ needs, let’s assume that A&E’s digital content is likely frequently accessed by people sitting on their couches in front of a TV. These users likely want to find out more information about the shows, catch up on shows they missed, and find out when they are on. Under these general assumptions, does the A&E website or native tablet app deliver a more usable and enjoyable experience?
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How Native Applications Can Inspire Better Tablet-Optimized Websites

How Native Applications Can Inspire Better Tablet-Optimized Websites

Native tablet applications are often described as being “more engaging” than their browser-based web experience counterparts. There are characteristics of native experiences that “feel” different from most browser-based web experiences. In fact, when considering a responsive design approach to optimize web experiences for tablets, many aim to design a mobile web experience that is more “app-like”. But what does being “app-like” really mean? What can we learn from native applications that we can use to improve tablet-optimized web experiences?

There is currently a divide between browser-based web experiences that are optimized for tablet use and those that present existing desktop web experiences (perhaps with slight optimizations or none at all). Organizations frequently struggle with how to optimize tablet experiences, as the desktop experience can often be seen as “good enough,” particularly given the additional cost of optimizing web experiences for tablets. However, there are lessons from native application design that can be leveraged on the mobile web that can result in deeper user engagement outside of the native application approach.

Trip Advisor's Native Tablet App vs Web Experience

Trip Advisor’s Native Tablet App and Web Experience

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