Enhancing User Experience in Cross-Platform Apps: TOP Tips


November 24, 2023 - 9 min read

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Enhancing User Experience in Cross-Platform Apps

Understanding Cross-Platform Apps

Cross-platform apps development allows you to create applications that run seamlessly on multiple operating systems. It leverages the versatility of web-based code to provide a native-like experience on various platforms.

Developers turn to cross-platform mobile apps development to access the essential tools, plug-ins, and user interface components required for the “write once, run anywhere” paradigm. The market offers a wide range of frameworks, each with its own attributes, including toolkits, programming languages, platform compatibility, code reusability, ease of adoption, documentation quality, and more.

By simplifying the app development process across multiple platforms, this methodology offers substantial advantages in terms of cost savings, time efficiency, and return on investment. Traditionally, native apps tended to beat cross-platform ones in terms of performance and user experience; and this limitation often made cross-platform development more suitable for simpler applications.

However, with cross-platform app development frameworks continuing to evolve, they have become more robust and capable of delivering consistent and, in some cases, nearly-native user experiences.

In this article, we will explore how to make cross-platform apps UX-oriented.

How Does Cross-Platform Stack Up against Native?

When embarking on app development, one of the pivotal decisions is choosing between native and cross-platform development. As Microsoft says, your choice should depend on several key factors, each with its own set of trade-offs.


The complexity of your app plays a significant role in determining the development approach. For highly complex applications, native development takes the spotlight. Using platform-specific tools, SDKs, and APIs, developers can fine-tune their apps to excel on a specific platform. This results in top-notch performance and a superb user experience. Native APIs allow developers to optimize processes, such as running UI code on a separate processor thread, leading to swift user interactions.

On the other hand, for simpler apps, cross-platform development becomes an attractive option. They may not reach ultra-high speeds, but they can handle rich media and offer visually pleasing user interface designs.

Speed & Responsiveness

When it comes to speed and responsiveness, native development takes the lead. Native apps are downloadable directly to mobile devices and open quickly. They provide a seamless experience by offering users familiar buttons, gestures, and actions consistent with the platform’s unique UI design.

Cross-platform apps, although capable of delivering a native-like look and feel, can’t match the speed and responsiveness of apps built from scratch for specific platforms.


When speed is essential, cross-platform development shines. Developers using cross-platform frameworks can quickly build an app with an experience close to native, especially when the app doesn’t require extensive customization.

In contrast, a native approach demands lengthier, duplicated development cycles to create app versions for different platforms.


Native apps are exclusive to platform-specific app stores, such as Play Store (Google) and App Store (Apple). In contrast, cross-platform apps can be distributed on multiple app stores, although this process involves submission delays. In the long run, cross-platform apps can achieve better marketplace visibility.


For companies targeting a diverse audience, offering the app across platforms is often a competitive necessity. Under a native approach, separate developer teams design, assess, update, and support all versions at the same time.

A cross-platform approach allows a single dev team to build a unified, shareable codebase, boosting productivity. Such a team, however, would need native coding skills to customize and integrate plug-ins and bridges for Android, iOS, and other operating systems.


For budget-conscious companies, cross-platform development is a cost-effective choice. It enables simultaneous development, testing, debugging, and updates across platforms. In general, native mobile app development demands more resources allocated toward initial development and ongoing maintenance.


Native developers have the advantage of direct access to device-specific hardware capacities, including cameras, microphones, and sensors. Cross-platform developers can use APIs, plug-ins, and bridges to facilitate hardware access, but not always at the same speed and efficiency.


Cross-platform apps should be carefully considered for users in areas with limited Internet connectivity or for frequent air travelers. Depending on the framework used, they can offer varying degrees of offline functionality, while native apps typically ensure access to local storage and databases even in airplane mode.


Native programming libraries come with tools for rolling out built-in security features, including encryption and fraud detection, and facilitate debugging. Cross-platform apps may raise security concerns as they rely on web-based technologies; however, each development framework offers its own security tools. Regardless of your chosen approach, supporting the app with a proven, scalable backend infrastructure is essential to safeguard user data and privacy.

Benefits of Cross-Platform Mobile Apps

If you have decided in favor of a cross-platform app, let’s dive into the advantages.

Code Reusability for Efficiency

Cross-platform programming eliminates the need for developers to write separate code for each operating system. Instead, they can use a single codebase, which saves time and effort on repetitive tasks (see infographic from the Kotlin Multiplatform Survey):


Time-Efficient Development

Less code is more when it comes to building applications. Cross-platform apps development requires less code, leading to significant time saved. With fewer lines of code, there are fewer opportunities for bugs to creep in, reducing the time needed for testing and maintenance.

Resource Management Made Simple

Managing resources for separate applications can be costly. A single codebase enables effective resource management, as both Android and iOS development teams can collaborate and share code, reducing duplication of effort.

Exciting Opportunities for Developers

Modern cross-platform technologies can rekindle the enthusiasm of mobile engineers. Developers often find routine tasks like JSON parsing monotonous. Embracing new technologies and tasks can reignite their motivation and passion for their work, making it easier to attract and retain top talent.

Broad Audience Reach

With a cross-platform app, you don’t have to choose between Android and iOS. Your app can cater to both audiences, expanding your reach and satisfying a wider user base.

Faster Time-to-Market and Easy Customization

Developing and launching a product is quicker with cross-platform development, as there’s no need to create separate apps for different platforms. Additionally, making small changes or customizations to specific areas of your codebase becomes more straightforward, allowing you to swiftly react to user feedback and market changes.

How to Develop Cross-Platform Mobile Apps with UX in Mind

Best Practices

Incorporating the best practices below into your cross-platform mobile app development process can save you time and resources while delivering a seamless and enjoyable user experience across a variety of devices and platforms.

  • Choosing the correct framework is the cornerstone of building cross-platform mobile apps. Frameworks like React Native, Flutter, Xamarin, and Ionic offer various features, so select the one that aligns best with your project requirements (more on that below). Furthermore, it’s essential to design your app with cross-platform compatibility in mind from the very beginning. By doing so, you can create a consistent and responsive user interface that functions seamlessly across a range of devices and screen sizes.
  • While aiming for cross-platform compatibility, it’s crucial to adhere to platform-specific design guidelines, such as Material Design for Android and Human Interface Guidelines for iOS, to provide a native-like user experience. To ensure your app’s success, prioritize performance. Cross-platform apps can sometimes lag behind their native counterparts, so optimizing your code, utilizing efficient libraries, and conducting thorough performance testing is paramount.
  • In certain cases, it may be necessary to access device-specific features. Cross-platform frameworks usually provide methods for integrating native code seamlessly into your app. To save time and effort, make the most of code reusability by abstracting common functions and UI components. This practice streamlines development and maintenance.
  • Speaking of which, you should maintain your app and its libraries regularly to benefit from the latest features, bug fixes, and security updates. Plan for offline functionality, especially if your app relies on Internet connectivity, by implementing data caching and synchronization to ensure a smooth user experience. Security is also critical. Focus on data encryption, secure API calls, and safeguarding sensitive user information.
  • User experience is vital for any mobile app. Strive to offer a smooth and intuitive interface that users will enjoy. Implement a continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD) pipeline for automated builds, tests, and deployments to streamline the development process. Join the community associated with your chosen framework and utilize documentation, forums, and resources for troubleshooting and support.
  • Plan your app’s architecture with scalability in mind. As your app grows, you’ll need a structure that can accommodate new features and an increasing user base. Implement analytics to observe user behavior and gather feedback. Data-driven decisions can help improve your app over time.
  • Ensure your app is accessible to everyone, including individuals with disabilities. Follow corresponding guidelines and test your app with assistive technologies. Comply with legal and privacy regulations, such as GDPR and CCPA, and handle user data responsibly. Continuously monitor your app’s performance post-launch, addressing issues and optimizing for speed and resource usage.

Tools and Frameworks

Finding the perfect tool for cross-platform mobile development is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. The unique nature of your project, objectives, and other specifics deeply influence the ideal framework choice.

Nonetheless, here are some of the top cross-platform mobile development frameworks to provide you with a solid starting point—courtesy of Kotlin Journal.

Flutter: Unleashing the Power of Dart

Flutter, a dynamic framework introduced by Google in 2017, empowers developers to create mobile, web, and desktop apps from a single codebase. What makes Flutter tick is its programming language called Dart, paving the way for a wide array of possibilities.

Some of the best cross-platform apps, such as eBay, Alibaba, Google Pay, and ByteDance, have all harnessed the potential of Flutter. One standout feature is the hot reload, a game-changer allowing real-time code changes without recompilation. Flutter supports Google’s Material Design, letting developers wield a toolkit of visual and behavioral widgets. Unique to Flutter is its own rendering engine for widget drawing, bypassing reliance on web browser technology. With a thriving global community, it’s no surprise that Flutter secured the title of the second most-loved framework in the Stack Overflow Developer Survey.

React Native: Crafting Natively Rendered Masterpieces

React Native, pioneered by Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook) in 2015, harnesses the power of Facebook’s React library. This open-source UI framework enables developers to craft natively rendered cross-platform mobile apps, and it’s all powered by JavaScript.

The cross-platform messaging app, Skype—along with household names like Bloomberg and Shopify—has taken advantage of React Native’s prowess. The Fast Refresh feature offers immediate visibility into component modifications, and a dedicated focus on UI allows for customized, responsive interfaces. Versions 0.62 and beyond introduce seamless integration with Flipper for debugging Android, iOS, and React Native apps. Community strength is a cornerstone of React Native, with a vibrant network of developers sharing their technical wisdom. This is very much needed when developing cross-platform apps.

Ionic: The Marriage of Native and Web Technologies

Ionic, born in 2013, is a trailblazing open-source UI toolkit that bridges native and web technologies. By leveraging HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, it offers hybrid mobile and desktop applications compatible with Angular, React, and Vue frameworks.

Major entities like T-Mobile, BBC, and EA Games have harnessed the potential of Ionic. This framework incorporates Cordova and Capacitor plug-ins to access device features like video & audio recording as well as GPS. With its dedicated IDE, Ionic Studio simplifies app building and prototyping. The bustling Ionic Forum fosters a strong community, making it a resourceful hub for developers seeking assistance.

Xamarin: Where ‘C’ Stands for ‘Cross-Platform’

Microsoft-owned Xamarin, launched in 2011, stands as an open-source cross-platform app development framework. It embraces the C# language and the .NET framework to birth applications for Android, iOS, and Windows.

Global names like UPS and Alaska Airlines provide great examples of how to build cross-platform apps utilizing Xamarin’s capabilities. Xamarin applications wield .NET BCL, a treasure trove of classes offering a wide range of features, including database management and networking. The Xamarin.Forms feature empowers developers to maintain a consistent visual aesthetic across different platforms. Compiled bindings enhance data binding performance, and a robust global community champions Xamarin, particularly among C, C++, and C# developers.

Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile: Bridging the Android-iOS Divide

Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile, born from JetBrains, offers an ingenious solution for Android and iOS application creation. It encourages code sharing between platforms and the creation of platform-specific code only when necessary.

Prominent players like Philips, Baidu, Netflix, and Leroy Merlin have embraced Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile. A standout feature is the granular control it grants over the user interface, interconnected with the latest UI frameworks like SwiftUI and Jetpack Compose. Access to Android and iOS SDKs is seamless, ensuring flexibility in app development. Despite being a relative newcomer, Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile boasts a mature community and fast growth. Its regularly updated documentation and community support make it a compelling choice for companies and startups seeking to deliver multi-platform apps with a native-like user experience.

Final Remarks

Now that you’ve gained a profound understanding of how to develop cross-platform mobile apps, explored their advantages, delved into best practices, and become familiar with the tools and frameworks available, you’re well-equipped to make an informed decision regarding your development approach.

Remember that every project is unique, and the choice between native and cross-platform development will depend on your specific requirements and objectives. Stay agile, continuously seek user feedback, and never stop learning.

In case you need assistance with developing your mobile application—be it native or cross-platform—we at Vodworks are more than happy to help.

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