I'm in the process of redesigning my website to be responsive, so this will also include a "mobile" web designed version of my website.

I'm just wondering, would I be able to use my "mobile" web app design and apply it towards a "native" (iphone, android) app design? Or would I have to design a whole new UI for my iphone/android app?

Thank you!

  • I'd ask myself if I really, really, REALLY need an app, then I'd worry only if the answer is YES. More often than not, you won't need it
    – Devin
    Jan 19, 2015 at 21:55
  • It all depends on your web app's design. Does it allow for easy 'app-like' interactivity? Do you want the mobile version to feel different?
    – Vince C
    Jan 20, 2015 at 11:05

2 Answers 2


I think I grasped your question correctly: you want to redesign a web site, and the accompanying native app should look similar to it. You need a native app for certain features like push notifications.

By going down the native route it would require you to override the GUI controls in whatever platform and redraw these controls to look how you designed them. This can be as simple as this.button.ForeColor = Color.Red; but you would only be changing colours and not have very much control beyond the colours and font.

Redrawing is actually fairly complicated, and StackOverflow would be the better place to ask for help with that.

There is also the option of creating a web app in a native wrapper. I believe Phonegap et al can achieve this although I have no experience with them myself. As we saw with Facebook's u-turn on a HTML5-based mobile app in 2012 though - users wanted the speed and responsiveness of native.

It's worth considering also whether your users will be expecting the SAME UI on their phone as in their browser, or just one that shares the same theme. Compare the reviews for an app that is released with Google's Material design with a previous version without it. There is usually a huge difference and the users are preferring a material based app using native UI controls rather than a custom UI controls, even if they are native.


You could use your web app design in your android and iOS app quite easily. It would also provide continuity to your users, who would be able to switch from one to the other with ease. Facebook's native and web apps

Note that this image is quite dated. With the advent of HTML5 one can create even more impressive web apps.

Source: http://sixrevisions.com/mobile/native-app-vs-mobile-web-app-comparison/

  • Thanks for the reply! I guess one feature that I would lose with the "web app" that I would like to have is the ability to do "push notifications" through the "web app", right? This would only be possible through a "native app", right?
    – olimits7
    Jan 19, 2015 at 21:47
  • Yeah. Push notifications, access to camera, accelerometer, .etc are only available via native apps. Location, device orientation, are what you could access with a web app.
    – user1
    Jan 19, 2015 at 22:05

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