What Technology Is Better for Mobile App Users

Why Users like React Native Apps

Why did we raise the question?

The idea of this article came up that very day when we executed smoke testing of the Ionic app. A customer turned to us for help with a problem of a faulty app. We like challenges! Moreover, we couldn’t ignore his request. So we promised to refactor it! Guess, what technology helped us?

OK, first things first… For a start, we decided to test it. As we are a team of 40+ versatile experts, we got used to doing smoke testing, that helps to reveal simple failures. That was an unbelievable experience! Literally!

There were so many issues in the app that it has led us to the main question. What technology was this app built with?

And, more importantly — does the technology has that much of an impact on the app quality?

You see, when we test our apps built with React Native, such problems never occur. All of you might already know the common advantages of this technology. Nevertheless, we were surprised at how it differs advantageously from its direct competitors.

Why is that? Well, have you ever asked yourself — who’s the main judge? Any guesses? Of course, it’s the users! This experience has provoked us to make a research.

So do they like React Native apps?

You have to realize that an app without users is worthless. First, let’s try to guess what are they looking for in mobile apps.

There were different researches done on the internet. The answers differ. Because, you know, people like different things! But what they hate is poor performance (slow load times, app crashing, slow in-app performance) and lack of usability. They tend to get frustrated and upset when they cannot figure out quickly what they’re supposed to do.

Before the advent of React Native, we had to decide what to sacrifice — convenience for either user or developer. In other words, what to choose — a cheaper and simpler development at the expense of user experience, or a stunning user experience, but a complex and expensive development? Facebook decided that all of it is important, and created React Native.

We support such a decision!

If in case of native apps, we know perfectly that they have a stunning user experience. Now we are eager to find out how users like hybrid apps!

We’ve allocated a few of the most important things that a random user is looking for in mobile apps. Then we simply compared Ionic and React Native apps between each other. And have made some conclusions.

Let’s see what is better for the user!

#1. Performance

Performance is one of the primary goals of React Native. Thus, from this perspective, React Native is actually pretty amazing.

Ionic 2 still uses WebView (just like the previous Ionic version), so you write the HTML code in your Android activities. Thus, it can be slower compared to React Native. Also browsers are still slow on Android.

The React Native app is faster and more performant since it is rendering native component and not a Webview. This means, all the browser compatibility issues go away which also enhances the performance with super smooth animations.

#2. Native look

“What we really want is the user experience of the native mobile platforms, combined with the developer experience we have when building with React on the web.” — Tom Occhino

A focus on performance can make the difference between an app that is usable and the one that isn’t. Yet you need not forget about app usability. It’s in developer’s hands to work on improving list view scrolling performance, memory efficiency, UI responsiveness, and app startup time. Startup sets the first impression of an app and stresses all parts of the framework, so it is the most rewarding and challenging problem to tackle.

You can create native looking widgets in Ionic 2, but they are still rendering in WebView inside a native container, and so are not technically native.

On the other hand, the React Native app feels & looks native and not like a responsive webapp. It is focused solely on building a mobile UI. The resulting UI is highly responsive and feels fluid thanks to asynchronous JavaScript interactions with the native environment. This means the app will have quicker load times than a typical hybrid app, and a smoother feel.

#3. Community

It is very important when there is a strong community that is behind a specific technology. As more problems can be quickly fixed.

As of this day, React Native has more stars on Github than Ionic, more than 44,500 vs. 28,000, respectively. Though, Ionic has more questions on Stackoverflow than React Native. Of course, it can be prompted by the release of the 2.0 version of Ionic or by bigger amount of bugs.

So it is obvious, that both Ionic and React Native are very popular.

#4. Facebook and Instagram

People like Facebook and Instagram. In turn, Facebook and Instagram like React Native. And here is the proof: https://facebook.github.io/react-native/showcase.html.

As you can see, such big giants as Facebook and Instagram tend to use React Native for the development of their products. It means something! Don’t you think?

#5. Plugins

Have you ever wondered why so many plugins are made specifically for React Native, iOS, and Android?

Consider this, would you like such beautiful animations in the app you use? Because it can be perfectly delivered with Lottie component for React Native (iOS and Android).

#6. Lifetime

Let’s be honest, Ionic 2 is younger than React Native. Despite the fact that the first version of Ionic was launched in 2013, and RN was revealed in 2015.

It means that Ionic makes improvements. Thus, this app’s performance gets better and the complexity of code reduces. Moreover, it will gain more popularity in future.

#7. Support

We even managed to check how support in React Native works. You know, sometimes it happens that you find a bug or lack of information. That is exactly what we faced lately. The documentation presented was unsatisfactory. So we realized that we needed to add some description to the documentation.

When everything was made it’s been accepted without problems by the RN support. Thus, you know that you can influence and make a certain contribution to the improvement of React Native.

Conclusion

It turns out that users have issues with Ionic apps fairly often.

So here’s what we found! React Native has such advantages before Ionic:

  • it is faster and more performant;
  • it provides a stunning user experience;
  • Facebook and Instagram like it;
  • many plugins are made specifically for it;
  • it has great support.

Of course, it should be noted that Ionic 2 is younger than RN. Also, both Ionic and React Native have a strong community! Which means they both have a future!

No wonder it is easier to attract and keep users with an app that runs faster, loads content quickly, which means people get more time to interact with it, and smooth animations make the app enjoyable to use.

Ultimately, for a user, it doesn’t matter which technologies we use to build an app. What matters is how fast, good-looking and easy to understand the app is.


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