Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are becoming increasingly popular. According to Google, PWAs are the next big thing in the development of the mobile web, and it will not be long before they are everywhere. In fact, there is a good chance that you have already used a PWA before, because companies with large websites already integrate all manner of PWA technologies.
In this case you will find out more about Progressive Web Apps, why they are important, and what the advantages of PWAs are in comparison with native apps.
If you have ever had an app developed, then you will know how complicated this can be. It may even have caused you sleepless nights. The process is complicated because there are so many choices to make. Will your app be for IOs, Android or both? What platform will you develop first? How often does the app have to be updated? How do you make sure it keeps attracting new users and isn’t made obsolete by new technologies?
Progressive Web Apps make app development much easier. To put it simply, a PWA is a website that behaves like an app. It combines the look and feel of an app with the simplicity of a website.
Even better, using modern browsers you can install a PWA on your home screen, send push messages and even access these online. Some developers predict that PWAs will signal the end of the native app1.
The essence of a PWA is that you make it as easy as possible for your customers to reach your content. You improve the user experience and so ensure happier customers; and happier customers are better for business.
There are a number of steps between finding a native app in an app store and actually using the app. Research reveals that an average of 20% of users2 are lost during each step involved in installing and using a native app. Installing the app is the first barrier, but opening the app and creating an account are also examples of steps that cost users.
This is not a problem with PWAs. When a user finds your PWA they can use it directly; there’s no hassle with downloads and installations. Only if they use your PWA more often will they be offered the option of downloading the app and receiving push messages.
The way a PWA is constructed means that a single app can be used on all platforms, which not only saves on development costs, but on maintenance, too.
First, let’s look at the difference between a native app and a PWA. A native app is a self-contained program on your smartphone. You can compare it with software on your computer such as Photoshop or Word.
A Progressive Web App is basically a website that behaves like a mobile app, comparable to Google Docs or Netflix. You can do everything you can with a native app, but you access it using your web browser. This saves space on your hard drive, as you don’t have to install or update anything.
The biggest disadvantage of a traditional app is that it is only suitable for a single platform. This is not a problem with PWAs because they are progressive. This means that the app downloads the content from the website first and then starts adding more layers and functionality depending on the browser and the user’s internet connection. This makes a PWA suitable for all platforms (although some older browsers may only display the most relevant information).
You are bound to have heard of responsive web design. This entails building a website that automatically adapts to the device being used to visit it. We have all visited websites that require you to zoom in enormously to read the content on your smartphone. These are examples of non-responsive websites, which are happily becoming increasingly rare. PWAs have a responsive design so they work on any device.
It is difficult to visit a website without an internet connection. Many apps, on the other hand, can be used if you have no or only a poor connection. Google’s Service Worker enables PWAs to be used offline by caching PWA data in advance so that it can be accessed even when there is no internet connection.
If you are planning to develop an app, it is important to understand the advantages of PWAs first. Here is a summary.
Although PWAs are the future, they are not yet better than native apps in every way:
Would you like to know more about the potential of Progressive Web Apps for your company? We have plenty more to tell about PWAs, so please feel free to contact us!