This is the excellenteasy blog, a publication about the mobile web.

Stop talking about the web as the future

by Stephan Bönnemann

Do you remember, back in the day, when the big players in the Music industry had an oligopoly to distribute and sell music? Everything was in their control, from the artist to the sales process, so they could make billions by selling other people’s music. We know this changed radically and the whole industry underwent a revolution which certainly wasn't peaceful. Could you imagine music labels supporting streaming services without severe pressure and an existence-threatening digital revolution?

Steve Jobs presenting the AppStore

Now compare the current situation of distributing and selling mobile apps to the one I just described. Considering the AppStore is the only marketplace where you can publish apps and have commercial success with, isn't it frightening that Apple has full control over the sales process, allowing certain business models and forbidding others?

Isn't it frightening that Apple not only can, but will remove apps they don't like, controlling whether apps will skyrocket in "Top Grossing" or fall into oblivion. It feels like a déjà vu to me.

Steve Jobs presenting the AppStore

Ironically Apple stumbled into this powerful position, as they initially planned on having all their apps web based. Over 5 years ago, back in 2008, the web wasn’t ready yet, Continue Reading …

The Tablet Dilemma: App Store or Web

by David Pfahler

A couple of days ago, a customer asked me about my opinion on a delicate question. Assuming you already have a "classic" web app, made for desktop computers, is it worth investing the time and money to create a separate mobile app and publish it on the App Store? The alternative is, of course, not to leave the user alone with a desktop web app, but optimize this app to a certain degree for mobile devices. In this case, it was specifically about tablets.

In my opinion, the focus on tablets make the question much more interesting. While I can see that the user experience often suffers a lot on smartphones of smaller sizes when using websites instead of apps from the app store, a lot of people are using tablets mainly for browsing the web. So what is the better alternative, especially in regards to the user experience?

Obviously, it depends entirely on the use case. It is also possible that use cases differ for different users of the same app. But I want to give you a more meaningful answer than just "it depends".

In an ideal world with unlimited resources you would probably do both. Continue Reading …

How the web empowered us to ship iOS 7 UI only 7 days after its announcement

by David Pfahler

Unfortunately, the idea of creating mobile apps with HTML, CSS and JavaScript still gets this “If it's cheap, it can't be any good” look. This mindset is incorrect and outdated. I want to demonstrate in this article why betting on the web is the right decision and what unexpected advantages this approach holds. HTML5 is ready for prime time.

A conversation about iOS 7

Photo by William Hook CC BY SA 2.0

Since we started to exclusively focus on mobile web apps over two years ago, we’ve seen the release of iOS 5 and 6. And every iteration has pushed the boundaries of what the browser and WebView can do. The same is true for the evolving Android versions as well. For each OS version, we created a set of UI elements that our users can not tell apart from their native counterparts.

The introduction of iOS 7 is a departure from the UI schemes we created for iOS 5 and 6. So while the transition from iOS 5 to 6 was relatively trivial Continue Reading …

The Tangled Web of Android Devices: Hardware and Software Fragmentation

by Cam Collins

Imagine you go to a party and you look around to find that there is only one dish being served to everyone. You will face no problems if you like that dish but think about those people who either don't like that dish or are allergic to it. So, there is no unity amongst people in regard to liking a same dish. A similar thing is happening in the Android market these days. They have to serve the same Android app to different phones which are using the Android operating system.

a buffet with different dishes

Photo by Nic McPhee CC BY SA 2.0

How does one expect a single Android application to run on 4,000 different phone models and have no glitches or faults? It is a tremendous task for these application developers as they have to cook a dish that works for everyone. This is known as hardware fragmentation when the software and hardware seem to be incompatible.

What problems do app developers face while developing an app for Android?

Android Hardware Fragmentation - Avoiding fragmentation while developing an app is a really big challenge for application developers. They have to cater to different hardware and software technologies across more than 4,000 phone models that are on the Android platform. For instance, Samsung and Sony are two very large companies that support the Android platform. If an application developer wants to support both of these devices they would first have to examine both the phones according to the hardware and technology used and then create the functions for the application in such a way that it caters to the hardware of both the phones without glitches.

Now imagine the same task being done for 4,000 different phone and tablet models. Continue Reading …

User Interface Characteristics of Mobile Operating Systems

by Stephan Bönnemann

Imagine two smartphones, one running Apple's iOS and the other running Google's Android. While these two devices might look similar, especially for inexperienced users, you know it literally feels different once you get to use them. This is caused by fundamentally diverging User Interface concepts that underlie these mobile operating system. Let's take an in-depth look at the main differentiators.

Navigation Observations

iOS back button in the contacts app
The way iOS handles navigation is through its navigation bar. It's located on the top of the screen, just below the status bar. In the navigation bar is the title of the current page that you are on and controls specific to the content like Submit, Cancel or Done. The most interesting part, especially in comparison to Android, is that the back button can take you to the the hierarchical parent of the page. To elaborate, for each page of any app, there is a hierarchy that you navigate through. If you go to a specific contact from the list of contacts in your address book and press back it will take you back to the contacts.

Android navigation concept

Image Source

Navigation for Android is slightly different. Continue Reading …

The difficulties of publishing an app for both iOS and Android

by Stephan Bönnemann

iOS and Android are the world's two largest mobile operating systems empowering over 90% of smartphones and tablets. However the differences in the user experience, distribution of the apps as well as the operating systems is quite distinct.

Many people have a hard time transitioning from one platform to another. It is not unlike the experience of going from a Blackberry to an iPhone when the elegant iPhone touchscreen first emerged. When you ask a loyal iOS user to switch to an Android-powered device, you are more likely to come across a face filled with bafflement and disorientation rather than bliss.

different iOS devices lying on a table

Photo by Blake Patterson CC BY 2.0

This reaction is not surprising but it does not mean that we are trapped in a dead end. Simply understanding the differences between iOS and Android would certainly allow us to appreciate – and soon – conquer them both.

The Skin-Deep Divide

First things first – these two ubiquitous operating systems were birthed by equally distinct giants when it comes to the digital and mobile technology industry. Continue Reading …