Native Apps and Mobile Web Meet in the Middle

Meeting in the middle to form oneThe debate has been raging for awhile: Which will win out? Mobile websites or native apps?

There have been solid arguments for both and even hybrid compromises (like native app icons that take you to a mobile site). But another melding of the two forms has just appeared in the form on CNET’s new mobile site.

In an article published yesterday CNET details how the design aesthetics of a native app influenced the redesign of their mobile site. The thought they put into their site is thorough and interesting and might just give mobile site designers a few ideas to think about and build on. Here’s what CNET did:

We know that there’s nothing as frustrating as a hard-to-navigate mobile Web site. There’s so little space on a phone screen that every pixel has to earn its keep. So when we redesigned our site from the ground up, we took cues from something everyone knows and loves: mobile apps.

First, we simplified the layout of our mobile site and made its navigation familiar to anyone who uses Facebook, Path, or any other common mobile app. …

Just because looks like an app doesn’t mean that is an app, though. Anytime you click a link that takes you to a CNET page on your phone’s browser, you’ll get this experience whether you’ve installed a CNET app or not. We’ve made our article pages clean and easy to read, with standard sharing navigation at the upper right.

Get more details at CNET >>>

Has anyone used the new CNET mobile site? What do you think of it? Is it intuitive and easy to navigate or did CNET miss their mark? Is the concept of “native app design for mobile web” something you think will or should catch on?

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