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I'm working on a link sharing app where people browse links posted by people they follow.

For many reasons, primarily technical limitations, I've decided that the best method for users to post links is through web app and not a native app.

This created two options, each with a trade-off:

  • Web App

    • Pros:
      • Less friction in the link posting process.
    • Cons:
      • More friction in the link browsing process. The user has to hit back after each link visited.
      • No home-screen means of initiation or presence i.e., app icon. The user has to navigate to the web app by typing the domain name in the address bar of a web browser.
  • Native App

    • Pros:
      • Less friction in the browsing process. The user can tap or swipe to go to next link.
    • Cons:
      • More friction in the link posting process. The user has to navigate to the app and submit the link there.

An option is for users to use the web-browser to post and the native app to browse the shared links.

Question: How can having users create content in one area and browse in another affect adoption or UX?

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From my experience that would hurt adoption. Especially for something new that a user is first trying out... If the initial experience is frustrating like having to go to 2 different places to take advantage of all the functionality within the system people will probably only experience half of it. It's unlikely that only half the experience alone will leave enough of an impression to get them to essentially come back again to interact with the other half.

My suggestion would be to first try to brainstorm some ways to create a good user experience that exists all in one place. It sounds like you tried this and got stuck but if you could provide more details about the interactions maybe the community could help. Second if that is in fact a dead end, I would look into creating a 2 fold experience where 100% of the functionality is available in both a native app and in a web experience. If one is more efficient at posting and one at browsing that could be acceptable as long as a user can experience your full concept in one place.

Have you thought about tapping into the sharing API on phones? I know on android at least there's typically a share button built into most apps including the browser. Like if you long press on a link it'll give you some copy/share options. Tapping share then pops up a tray with various apps installed on your phone that you can share the link to. Maybe your app could be one of them and you could implement posting links that way.

  • You're spot on. – Babiker Nov 17 '17 at 6:27

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