Magazine article HRMagazine

Mobilizing Your Workforce

Magazine article HRMagazine

Mobilizing Your Workforce

Article excerpt

Mobile technology has come a long way since the days of flip phones. For organizations, integrating mobile capabilities into digital tools can support employee productivity and engagement. The first step to becoming a mobile-savvy employer is to understand the various options for developing this technology.

Enhancing Mobile

Mobile apps can take three unique forms, each with its own set of benefits and build approaches.

Native apps are based on software written for mobile devices that is developed to use on a specific platform, such as Windows, iOS or Android. They are downloaded directly to the device and stored locally. The majority of the code and assets reside on the phone. Native apps can be downloaded by visiting the appropriate app store for the device (Windows Phone Store, Apple App Store, Google Play).

Web apps, which can be quicker to build and change and simpler to maintain than native apps, can be accessed by any modern mobile device that has a browser. They exist and run within the browser with the support of HTML5, CSS3 and advanced JavaScript. In fact, the browser itself is a native app that has direct access to the device's operating system. There are two subdivisions within Web apps: mobile Web apps and mobile websites, both of which can be accessed on smartphones.

The key difference is that mobile websites are designed responsively so they work well on both large and small screens, whereas mobile Web apps are developed specifically for mobile devices.

For a mobile website, each time a new page is accessed, the device downloads all the page content (HTML, CSS, JavaScript and data). For a Web app, however, download occurs on the initial visit and the data is stored locally. Therefore, while a Web app will have a longer download time initially, it will be quicker to access on subsequent visits, while a mobile website will have to load content for each new page visited, requiring more-frequent downloads.

Hybrid apps combine elements of both native apps and Web apps. They are built using Web technology that is wrapped in a platform-specific shell. This means they are downloaded from app stores, yet they are not limited the way Web apps are to certain mobile functionality. Unlike native apps that can potentially work offline, hybrid apps mostly rely on a constant Internet connection as the data and content come from external sources.

Mobile Empowerment

Apps with slick user interfaces, intuitive controls and real on-the-go connectivity can take mobile technology to the next level of productivity. …

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