- 1 What is a Web Application?
- 2 Types of Web Applications
- 3 Essential Elements in a Web Application
In today’s global economy, web applications are essential for nearly all businesses to create an online presence and increase customer reach. From e-commerce to the service industry and entertainment, web applications have revolutionized the software industry by limiting the use of conventional desktop software. The ease of use, accessibility, and availability of information makes web applications the most feasible software solutions today. This article covers various aspects of web applications, their types, and the essential elements of a successful web app to give you an insight into the benefits of app development for your work.
What is a Web Application?
A web application is a website or application software that uses a web browser and internet connectivity to perform specific tasks for users. It runs with back-end server connectivity through server-side scripts and a front-end client system that presents information on web pages to clients. From e-commerce websites to word processing, email, and social media websites, web applications include a plethora of online services and functions.
Types of Web Applications
There are mainly four types of web apps that are categorized based on functionality and design. Let’s discuss all of them briefly:
1. E-commerce Web Apps
E-commerce web applications typically deal with selling and purchasing products and services over the internet. Every e-commerce web application has some standard functions. They are:
- Showcasing products/services by categories
- Using sessions or carts to track user activity on the web app
- Payment and transaction integration
- Customer support and Returns services
- Compliance with PCI DSS standards for secure online payments
However, the web app interface and added functionality like item selection and delivery depend on the company’s business. For example, while a clothing brand works on “pushing out” stock by selling clothes, web software for laundry management focuses on “taking in” clothing and laundry items for a wash and returning it to the customer. There is a fundamental difference in the business model between the two. While a clothing brand sells items, a laundry & dry cleaning business sells services, but both can develop separate software to work independently of the web application.
2. Static Web Apps
Static web apps are the most basic apps that run without collecting data from the server. The static web pages don’t require complex programming since no processing is involved. Static web apps send the content directly to the client’s browser. Simply put, there are no interactive forms on the website where a client enters data that a server can save or process. Basic food websites, educational web apps, and news websites are examples of static web apps.
3. Dynamic Web Apps
Dynamic web apps generate real-time personalized views. Users who open the web app see a personalized view according to their set preferences and usage history. With the help of a content management system, the web app’s content updates each time the user accesses the web app. YouTube, Netflix, and Shopify are common examples of dynamic web apps.
4. Portal Web Apps
A portal web app is mainly used for organizational processes with personalized access based on the users’ needs. These web apps offer multiple functions like email, chat, search engines, resource access, and other customized processes. Some examples of portal web apps include educational web portals, online hospital management systems, patient portals, and employee attendance portals for work-from-home employees.
Essential Elements in a Web Application
Although the success of a web application depends on numerous factors, the primary goal of any web application is to facilitate the client. A web app must meet customer expectations to be considered successful. Here are ten important elements that customers want to see in a web application:
1. User-Friendly Interface
No matter what the product is, the easier your web application is to use for your customer, the higher your chances are for success. A complex interface with chunks of text and closely spaced links makes it extremely uninviting. When designing a web app, always consider that a user may have a limited technical background, and your goal is to create an interface that doesn’t require the user to be tech-savvy.
2. Visual Consistency
A web app interface that is visually appealing, with eye-catching graphics and fluidly displayed content, makes a wonderful first impression. Numerous web applications utilize a dark background to emphasize the graphics and content. Lighter backdrops emit more blue light, putting a strain on the eyes. Darker backgrounds are also beneficial for the user for night-time viewing.
Place all the elements on the page in visual harmony. Ensure your design stays consistent as the visitor scrolls through forms and pages. Your web app should give a more professional and standardized look.
3. Visual Appeal
Research shows that humans can process images and visuals 60,000 times faster than text. Visuals deliver the message to your customers in a minimum timeframe. Enticing images and captivating videos can not only get users’ attention but also helps them to process the information faster. While videos and photos can enhance the visual appeal of your web application, optimizing them can also raise your search engine ranking.
4. Clear Content
Content is the king for all internet-based applications. Optimized content on your web app helps you rank higher in the search results. However, you need to ensure that the content you create resonates with the purpose of your web app and the user finds it useful.
A clear and readable display of the content is equally important. Arrange your content to present it in a meaningful way. Use headings, highlight phrases, and use bullets to present your content. Include lists, graphs, images, and videos to support your text.
One of the fundamental elements of a successful web app is easy navigation. Make sure the web app is easy to navigate, and important links and buttons are available across all pages. Avoid using complex menus and dead ends.
6. SSL Certification
Security has become a top priority for most users online. You need SSL certification to ensure all web applications and server communication remain secure. SSL certificate is a security code responsible for encrypting all communication between client and host. It adds a layer of security to your data over the internet to avoid cyberattacks.
7. Responsive Web Apps
A responsive web application is designed to adjust to the size of a user’s screen, irrespective of the technology a customer may be using. Responsive web apps optimize user experience with flexible designs that easily adjust to any screen without harming the original alignment of all webpage elements. Users will never want to open your web application if they see poorly aligned details on the page.
While most web apps seamlessly function on desktops and mobile devices, compatibility is still a major issue for many web apps. Creating compatible web apps to ensure they run smoothly on all types of devices and web browsers is usually on the top of a user’s wish list. Test your web app on all platforms, operating systems, and web browsers before launching it.
With more people using a smartphone to browse the internet, a web application must be designed to facilitate such users. All CTA links and buttons should be large enough to cover the area of a standard finger-tip size of 45-75 pixels.
10. Contact Forms
A customer’s feedback and queries are always the top priority for businesses. Suggestions or complaints that flow in from the customers help businesses improve their services. Contact forms are a great way to gather customers’ feedback, suggestions, and queries. Your web app should contain contact forms, links to all social media profiles, contact numbers, and email addresses.
All the essential elements discussed above clearly indicate that delivering value to the customer must be a top priority while creating your web app. You must comprehend the user’s needs to develop a web app that meets those needs as precisely as possible. There is a high likelihood of success for a web app that satisfies all user needs and incorporates all the design elements that a user expects.