Lecture 1: What is App Design?

What is an app? 

“App” is the abbreviation for the word application. Apps are pieces of software that usually runs on computers, phones, tablets, televisions and other electronic devices. Apps are typically usable while offline nut there are some which need online access. Apps typically are either made to help a user or to aid another program or application.

The three types of apps:

Web App (HTML)

A web app is an app which runs it’s user interface on a web browser. Common web apps include email, online stores, streaming services and messaging services. Web apps can only be accessed when online.


  • Can easily and quickly make your information available for mobile devices.
  • Only needs to be made once and will be available for all platforms.


  • Very little to no user experience
  • Poor performance, lengthy load times and can’t be used in offline or with low internet speeds
  • Apps are main stream and are becoming the more popular option due to most devices supporting apps eg. Android, Apple and Windows 8 tablets


Hybrid apps use a combination of elements from both Native and Web apps. A Hybrid app is most commonly a Native app that contains Web Apps inside of them, an example of this would be apps that stream directly from websites and apps that use information from a website.


  • An App
  • Creates space to allow the developer to bridge the gap between native apps and web apps
  • Positive for developers who have some background web development skills


  • Poor performance, lengthy load times and can’t be used in offline or with low internet speeds
  • No unique functions that users expect in a mobile experience


Native apps are applications are made for particular devices and/or operating systems, and run directly on these systems without the need of a web browser. Some examples of this on a mobile device would be the note app, the calendar app, and the camera app. Native apps generally do not need the use of internet connectivity to function.


  • The UI and UX can be created to be smooth and engaging
  • The app can be optimised to suit the device rather than having to worry about suitability to all platforms
  • Faster and smoother loading than web apps
  • Performance is much better
  • Can be used regardless of internet connectivity
  • Much better brand image and individuality
  • Superior security compared to HTML5


  • Each platform requires it’s own development
  • Due to the process in which the app is made, it can be expensive and time consuming
  • Can be expensive to also build upon

What type of apps are there?

  • Utility
  • Entertainment
  • Games
  • News
  • Productivity
  • Social Networking


In this lecture I have learned that there are actually three different types of websites. It made sense to me and seemed pretty straight forward once I learnt that and I understood quite quickly between the difference of the three soon after. I feel like learning this was important as I know which path to take when making different types of apps.