Hybrid Mobile App

Smartphones have quickly become an essential part of our daily lives and mobile apps give us the opportunity to reach new customers and deliver our content with a rich user experience.

The Brief

Our client asked us to build a mobile app to deliver paid content to their subscribers and the ability to send push notifications to alert subscribers of new or updated content.

This was to be phase 1 of their mobile app strategy, adding value to their existing offerings to increase engagement and allow for a better user experience when consuming content.

The Benefits

When considering a mobile app, we need to weigh up the value it will deliver. i.e. What will it do that a good mobile optimized website won’t do?

Functionality – Mobile apps can access features on the mobile device like the address book, camera, and other sensors

Speed – Native apps can run faster, web-based apps require more round trips to a server to fetch content and elements of the user interface.

Focus – Apps really come into their own when they help users to complete clearly defined tasks. E-learning apps are a good example where content meets task.

Our client wanted their customer to be able to focus on the content in a clearly defined, consistent interface. Add to that the convenience of push notifications and app level fingerprint authentication and it makes a strong case to building a mobile app.

The Solution

Since the primary goal of the app was to deliver content, we decided to build a “hybrid” app. Hybrid apps combine the advantages of web, and native apps. We can leverage rapid development techniques based on HTML, Javascript, and CSS and the app lives in a container that allows it to take advantage of the devices features.

This approach meant we could build the app with one codebase and it would run across both the Android and iOS platforms saving time and money.

In addition, we created a WordPress plugin to provide a number of key functions to support the mobile app. This enabled the following features:

  • Pull content from WordPress into the app
    • Editors only need to post content in one place and it is seamlessly re-purposed for the app
    • Formatting is changed automatically to suit the smaller screen
    • Images are scaled appropriately to make sure the layout is kept
  • Seamless User¬†Authentication
    • Ensuring subscribers can access the content they paid for by authenticating them against the company’s back-end ERP system
  • Push Notification Support
    • The plugin supports multiple Push Notification providers such as One Signals and Urban Airship.
    • This allowed the client to build out a custom push notifications feature, enabling them to send highly targeted and customised push messages to their customer base.