This time I am going to attempt to tackle what an in-app browser is. I found this one harder than my first couple of instalments, ‘What are Push Notifications?’ & 'What are In-App Purchases?', as when I started reading up on I was faced with a b of terms I had NEVER come across before. WebViews, CCT, SFSVC, IIAB, API…...I could go on. All of the Techy’s out there will know what these are but I haven’t got a clue. So with this in mind, it makes total sense that I try and explain it, in layman’s terms of course. Ready?!
I always like to start by breaking down the term. When you think 'in-app browser' what does it insinuate? ‘In-app’ to me says it must be within an app, simple! When I think of a ‘browser’ I think Google Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, which we all use when searching for whatever we want to find on the Internet. So putting that together I would come to the conclusion that I must be searching for something on the Internet but from within an app.
The reason why I believe so many people aren’t aware of what these are is because we don’t notice an in-app browser when it kicks in. The easiest example for me to call upon would be the use of in-app browsers within Facebook or Instagram. I’m partial to following a link to get myself a super duper awesome deal. So, if I want to take advantage of this deal, what do I do? I click the link provided in the post of course. It’s at this point the in-app browser springs to life. You're then taken to the retailers site but you never actually leave the Facebook or Instagram app. Do you recognise this kind of browser bar?;
From here I can make my purchase from the site, look at other items within that site or I could save the page I’m on for later. I can also go back/forward through already viewed pages by using the toolbar at the bottom of my screen. Does this look familiar?;
Once I’m done playing around on the site, I can head straight back to my news feed or timeline by clicking the back arrow at the top of the page by my in-app browser bar.
So why are in-app browsers good for us? Well, it makes our user experience (UX) seamless. There’s no jumping out of your app and into Safari (iOS example again, sorry peeps) or another app. That means we won’t have extra applications or web pages open and running in the background, everything is kept nice and tidy, within 1 app.
From a creators point of view, in-app browsers allow your users to explore external links without them leaving your app. This means that if they are distracted by some of the other sites content you haven’t lost them completely. They’ll easily navigate back to where they started from, your app!
Hopefully this has given you a better understanding of what an in-app browser is. You’ve probably been using them for years and never known it!
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