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.