I'm new to blockchain. I find that Etherscan's UI/UX is too complicated for average person to use. I basically need my users to read my Ethereum smart contract transactions and to view their own tokens (which my contract issues) content and data. Must I need to build my own block explorer using open source software and customize a nice UI/UX or could I just code a simple web app and pull this data from a public node?
You don't need a block explorer but you probably need a user interface.
Your UI would present an application to users and coordinate interactions with users.
- Read the contract by calling functions
- Send data to the contract by inviting the user to sign transactions
- Monitor event logs to update dynamic elements
I think it bears mentioning that if your tokens comply with ERC20 then users can and would expect to use them with the wallet of their choice. No need to reinvent that.
A block explorer is more of a diagnostic tool. Have a look at https://www.cryptokitties.co/ to see a pretty nice UI in action. You will need MetaMask or your own node to meet the client-side blockchain requirement. https://metamask.io/. MetaMask uses Infura backing.
Hope it helps.