It’s 2018 and you’ve probably heard of PWAs or Progressive Web Apps, one of the most buzzing, newest tech trends of 2018. It’s trending right now because it’s been gaining adoption from major companies including Twitter, Pinterest, Alibaba and many more. All these companies have already been or are currently working to develop the PWA versions of their web apps.
So, what are progressive web apps?
First of all, why using progressive web apps?
It’s a fact that people nowadays spend more internet time on their mobile devices than their desktop or laptops. As a result, in order to cater to customers through mobile devices, almost all businesses have made the transition to either have a mobile version of their website or a native mobile app so that customers/users can visit the businesses through these channels. One issue with the mobile version website is that it seems limited with what customers can do, and also doesn’t have a smooth browsing experience compared to using the native mobile app. One solution is why not bringing all the features of the native mobile app to the web, hence, progressive web apps.
So, Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are basically web applications that are developed with modern web technologies, allowing them to provide end-users a mobile app-like browsing experience. And since the web is independent of Operating System (OS), users can always access information, or shopping on the internet through the web, no matter the OS they use (Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android etc.). This would make PWA more convenient to use instead of native app requiring users to have an app store account to download from the app store.
(Image source: Pexels.com)
Advantages of progressive web apps over native mobile apps
Since these PWAs are web apps (but function more like native mobile apps), they will be hosted directly on the server owned by the company. Developers can develop new features and update them directly on the company’s own server instead of having to go through a quite long process of submitting the new updates on the app stores (for example: Google Play Store, Apple App Store etc.), and the same app will run on all browsers and platforms. This will be a lot less time consuming for developers.
And, because one PWA can run smoothly and identically on many browsers of many different platforms, on all devices. So, rather than requiring to develop different versions of one native app for different devices (iOS and Android) – mobile app developers only have to develop one PWA which is unified to work on all web browsers that are available on any mobile devices. As a result, it would be faster and cost less to develop a PWA than a native mobile app.
Native apps provide smooth browsing experience to end users, but they are sometimes limited to only a certain number of devices. PWAs would be more efficient than native apps in a sense that they work on-demand and are always accessible through web browser, without taking up much memory and data of the devices. Users also have the option to add the web-app on the home screen of their devices.
Accessing through a PWA is an easy task. It is quick and requires no installation, no lengthy download period as well as no memory storage and low data usage.
Success stories with PWA
Pinterest is a social network application which allows its users to find and curate images, recipes etc. on different topics and themes according to their own interest.
Before PWA, Pinterest web browsing experience was slow and only converted a small fraction of visitors into sign-ups or installs their mobile app. This led Pinterest to develop a Progressive Web App. As a result, the time users spent on Pinterest new mobile web increased 40% compared to the one, a significant gain. Ad revenue and users engagement are also improved substantially. Their new PWA also led to technical performance improvement as it loads faster on an average mobile device compared to before.
In 2017, Twitter introduced its PWA called “Twitter Lite” as the default mobile web version available to all users worldwide.
With over 80% of its users are on mobile, Twitter wanted to improve the mobile web browsing experience by making it load faster and consume less data, this is because many of its users are still living in areas with slow internet connection.
Twitter Lite loads pages quickly and takes up less data by optimizing images and using cached data.
It also enables push notifications and allows users with the option to add the Progressive Web App to their home screens.
Here are some interesting results from Twitter Lite:
- 75% increase in Tweets sent
- 20% decrease in bounce rate
- 65% increase in pages per session
PWA costs less and is faster build compared to native app. With its smooth and seamless browsing experience, PWA should deserve a place on the users’ home screen device. Besides, it’s good to have PWA in addition to native app so that a business can attract more customers and/or users. A good PWA will help replacing a company’s slow, limited features mobile site and maybe even its native apps.
For now, there are a few limited issues with progressive web apps, because even though PWAs work on almost all devices (including iOS and Android, the two largest and most popular kinds in the mobile devices market). They are still not yet supported on all browsers or software, and some features such as GPS, Bluetooth or facial recognition on iPhone X are still not available on PWA. However, technology is being developed at a lighting speed so these challenges might be overcome really soon in the near futures. PWA might as well be the future of web development.
Contact us today if you would like to know more about PWA or interested in building one for your business.