Benefits of an offline-first approach to mobile app development

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    Today where everything is online and digital, even a slightly flaky connection can cost you a fortune. Wi-Fi has become an essential part of our daily lives, be it home, office, cabs, hotels,” What’s the Wi-Fi password”? has become a more common question than “How are you?”!

    According to a recent study, more than 1.7 billion dollars is lost every year as a consequence of low Internet speeds. Additionally, if the app or website doesn’t load in (milli) second, there’s a high chance of potential users abandoning it. 

    This phenomenon pushes enterprises to think – This brings us to the key point of this blog- why it’sis it time for enterprises to implement start using an offline-first approach technology for mobile app development. 

    What are offline-first apps?

    As the name suggests, offline-first mobile apps are named such because of their capability of operating offline without an internet connection. Certainly, the question arises of why we need these kinds of apps even in the 21st-century where the internet is omnipresent. The answer is- no matter how great an internet connection you have, internet problems do exist or may occur without any prior intimation, even in developed countries – think of your favorite vacation spot tucked up in the mountains or on a secluded island. 

    When accessing online apps via desktops or laptops, users are connected to either a reliable Wi-Fi or an ethernet connection. The user experiences a reliable network that is fast, with low latency and minimal compromises. The same cannot be guaranteed while accessing web apps via mobile. The user’s experience may experience high latency accompanied by minimal or no coverage.

    In the offline-first approach, mobile apps are designed in a way that they will function even without an active internet connection, thus providing an opportunity to the user for syncing data and getting updates even while remaining offline. Offline-first platforms also have added advantages such as power saving, better loading time, and reduced roaming costs. 

    The need for an offline-first mobile approach

    The online-first way offers a traditional mobile app development platform where the data is being downloaded by a remote server, followed by the display of a loading screen, and then the data is presented in a user-appealing method. Once the data is displayed, the user either views or modifies the data and the new developments get sent to the remote server which saves them.

    This definition itself makes it clear that there are certain inconsistencies while using this approach for new mobile app development. The evident cons of the online-first approach are: 

    • The endless waiting time while the data is being fetched from the server
    • Wastage of bandwidth while constantly downloading and uploading data
    • Excessive stalling of network connectivity

    Losing content while it is being uploaded due to a network error is a nerve-racking process for many. This itself is an adequate reason for leveraging a solution that enhances user experience in mobile applications. 

    Benefits of the offline-first mobile app approach

    As stated above, the basic idea of implementing an offline-first approach is for improving the user experience, and this is just the beginning. 

    When it comes to consumer apps, it’s evident that the benefits of an offline-first mobile app are clear, and the ones which top the list are:

    • Bolting speed:

    For an app that has next to zero latency, and can load data as and when needed, the speed automatically becomes faster.

    • Extended battery life:

    Less bandwidth usage helps in saving the battery life of the mobile or desktop, which in turn encourages users to retain the app.

    • Better user experience:

    Statistics have it, a user is more likely to download an app that has five stars than one that has three or fewer. If your app is offering users an array of benefits, it is a given that their user experience will be enhanced, and they will not shy away from giving your app the brownie points that it deserves!

    The long and short of it…

    If you want to develop a new mobile application, an offline-first approach is surely the way to go about it. Find out more about how to create a mobile app with an offline-first approach by contacting the Neebal Application Development team. 


    Topics: Offline Mobility Platform, Mobile App Development