I personally feel that borrowing from the native interface will improve the user's experience, especially in terms of navigation. It seems to me that since hybrid apps are distributed in the same way native apps are, this behaviour is what the user will expect, but I've also come across some articles recently that claim trying to replicate the native UI is a bad idea and will risk angering the users if some part is slower or does not behave in the right way.

So, should hybrid apps be based on the native UI of the device or is it encouraged to go for a different, possible more generic, mobile website-like interface?

3 Answers 3


If you are running on the same platform (not emulating iOS UI on Android, for example, which would be confusing), then emulating the native UI will make it easier for people to use your app. They they will already be familiar with the UI, so less cognitive load will be required to understand your app.

The risk of the UI being slower or less responsive does not take away much from the benefit of familiar UI. If your hybrid app is less responsive, then this is a problem regardless of what the UI looks like. You may set expectations slightly higher with native controls, but this is a trivial issue compared to the benefit of providing familiar UI elements.


I've always found that if you can make the emulated native UI look and feel like the real thing it doesn't matter. The customer will never know it's not native unless the experience leads them to believe otherwise.

For example a navigation bar in a native iOS app doesn't move when navigating but on a lot of emulated UIs i've seen the navigation bar disappear and reappear on navigation.

As long as it's matched as closely as possible you'll be fine.


It depends a bit on how “hard-core” your users are.

If it is important that your users learn the app quickly, emulating native elements can be part of the learnability. With "part of" I mean that I wouldn't have too high expectations on what users know about their own system.

On the other hand, if your users expect a smooth experience and the emulated UI doesn't really behave as expected, you will risk angering the users as the article states.

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