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Reactive Apps: What are they and why care? Article

We all know the nightmare app – it’s the one that works, sometimes. Instead of offering a great experience, it frustrates users. Even if the nightmare app works, sometimes you wish you hadn’t bothered because the quality of the service is poor. It struggles with connectivity reacting badly to lower levels of connectivity from 3G to edge to GPRS to nothing at all and then back again.  It cannot cope with demand during peak periods.

The problem is this is where app users are lost. Research shows that users will not tolerate problematic mobile apps, 79 percent would retry a mobile app only once or twice if it failed to work the first time.

It isn’t necessarily the app at fault (although there are always options for optimization). Most often, the network is the problem. Many apps are developed on uncontended networks, where the connection is completely stable and reliable. In the real world, apps aredeployed over networks of variable quality such as the Internet and mobile networks. And a mobile network is a very different place to a dedicated network – speed is unreliable, latency is extremely variable and connectivity may or may not be there. Users want interfaces that are engaging. What makes engaging user interfaces? Immediacy, interactivity, responsiveness to what users are actually doing in the app. Users want applications that are reactive.

Read our latest paper that discusses our term, the ‘Righteous Reactive Triangle’, defines what a reactive app is and how to use the reactive model to optimize the network, data and the user experience.

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