'Progressive Web Apps' is a newish concept introduced by Google that is quickly gaining popularity. A progressive web app is basically a tool that combines the best aspects of a native mobile app with a mobile-friendly website. Read on to know more about what a progressive web app is, why you need one, and how you can start using them for your business!
Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) were brought about by Google itself. While it is still not clear what exactly a progressive web app is, it has been heavily adopted by major brands and companies due to the efficiency and accessibility it provides. It uses modern technological advancements to help users browse through the content easily with little to no internet connectivity.
While explaining what a progressive web app is, this blog also discusses three of the main components of a PWA. Google also uses three features to highlight PWAs apart from other applications, along with the various advantages offered by a PWA.
Finally, we have a brief look at three major brands that have achieved success by incorporating PWAs.
It is difficult to attribute a concrete definition for PWAs as they do not have a particular implementation. They are simply the result of the best of both worlds: mobile and desktop.
PWAs are often created by fulfilling the requirements listed by Google to make them quick, dependable, and interactive. Google introduced the Lighthouse PWA Analysis Tool, which is an open-source tool that helps developers audit their web apps for PWA characteristics. The core concept of a PWA is to support mobile users that demand easy-to-use apps under various circumstances. In order to qualify as a progressive web app, 75% of the requirements mentioned in the PWA checklist must be met.
According to Google, a PWA is defined by the following three characteristics:
Even a second of a delay in loading a web page on mobile could potentially result in a 20% drop in conversion rates. For this precise reason, Google has prioritized site loading speed for PWAs. Mobile users are often impatient and despise quick loading times, especially when intending to purchase from an online business.
According to Unbounce, 70% of consumers stated that their willingness to buy from an e-commerce site depends on the page speed. A fast mobile page should be capable of providing a satisfying user experience. This includes quick responses to user interaction, smooth animations, and seamless scrolling.
Businesses need to optimize their web pages in order to improve their conversion rates. PWAs guarantee the speed and efficiency required for this goal.
A PWA can function offline; it is not tethered to internet connectivity. A poor internet connection will not affect the page's performance. Users appreciate the reliability this offers as they are able to stay engaged with the web page for as long as they want.
This level of network independence allows users to:
Reliable PWAs are made possible through the combined efforts of Service Workers, Cache API, and client-side data storage technologies.
PWAs use device features to provide a more enriching user experience. They allow users easy accessibility from browsers and even enable the PWAs to be pinned to the home screen, providing a sense of personalization to the device.
The app feels natural on the device. In addition, businesses can build customer loyalty through push notifications to inform customers of the latest offers, updates, and reminders of cart abandonments. This adds the advantage of re-engagement.
Encrypted HTTPS Protocol
Any web application should be secure for its visitors to use browse through on a network. This helps build trust with your customers as they do not need to think twice when engaging in transactions on your site.
Service workers use scripts to handle network requests and asset caching on a browser. These service workers are the key to ensuring a reliable, efficient, and functional app that works offline.
A JSON manifest file controls the way the app is displayed to the end-user. It also helps in the discoverability of the app. The manifest file contains the name of the app, the start URL, icons, and any other relevant information that can be translated from a website format to an app format.
Similar to a Native App
Many users often prefer to install a dedicated app to a frequent service or business rather than repeatedly visit the related website. The choice is often dependent upon the convenience offered by the app and the user's personal preference.
PWAs offer the same feel as a mobile application but with a performance similar to that of a website. The key benefit is that PWAs are designed similar to native apps. They have the same speed, responsiveness, and comprehensive capabilities as websites with the added benefit of database access and automatic data.
PWAs enjoy a direct installation from a browser to any other device. Thanks to this, users enjoy an enhanced experience while also reducing the abandonment of web apps significantly. Moreover, the PWA can be easily accessed via app or through a URL in the browser.
Progressive web apps can be updated automatically with minimal manual intervention. They do not require separate user permissions to manage these updates. Every time a user opens the app, the latest update is installed immediately while avoiding any batch changes. Some PWAs update after informing users of the same through push notifications.
Does Not Require App Distribution Platforms
App distribution platforms like the App Store, Google Play Store, or the Microsoft Store often have specific requirements for including an app within their marketplace. These prerequisites can be burdensome for some apps or pose a risk of removing the app from the store without notice.
PWAs, on the other hand, do not rely on app distribution platforms. They also save the potential time that would have been wasted otherwise and reduce the costs depleted due to these standards.
PWAs provide users with the ability to work anywhere. Their cross-platform capability allows users to seamlessly switch between different devices and continue where they left off.
This facilities business automation, especially with companies that rely on PWAs. It also gives businesses an idea of what works better for their employees: platforms or apps. Moreover, PWAs can be personalized based on the device they are being used on.
Twitter Lite was developed as a PWA. It helped enhance the website's overall user experience when used on mobile devices. In fact, it worked so well that it was adopted as the default mobile web experience for all users across the globe in 2017.
Twitter Lite provided a more robust user experience as it had instant loading, higher user engagement, and lower data consumption.
Uber realized that not every region in the world had equal access to fast-paced internet networks. They had to adapt their website to support 2G networks. The solution was created as a PWA.
They developed a PWA that provides an app-like experience for users with low network connections. Apart from that, it also supported users with low-end devices that would not support their native application. The PWA app is a mere 50kb in size, allowing for quicker load times on a 2G network.
Housing.com is one of the leading online real estate platforms in India. In 2016, their engineering team a PWA for their website. This was a welcome addition as most people in India are dependent on 2G and 3G networks.
Housing.com used service workers to reduce the load times of their web page. The team also simplified the website to help users find what they are looking for quickly.
PWAs have made various activities like browsing and shopping online much more accessible to a wide range of users. Glood.AI's data-driven personalization tools can help your business better optimize your PWA for your targeted users. With the combined effort of an efficient PWA and Glood.AI, you can enhance sales, improve user experience, and boost your growth.