You should go with a website or application? This can become a heated and never ending discussion. For some businesses, websites work better and others prefer operating with a mobile application. Both websites and apps come with their own set of advantages and challenges.
For instance, mobile apps are handier and user friendly while websites are a more cost-efficient solution. But what if your website becomes capable of interacting with its users like an app, customers can install it on any device, leverage push notifications for updates, and even use it offline? Progressive web apps (PWA) precisely offer these functionalities.
PWAs have gained more traction over the past few years because they are simpler to develop and offer a more engaging user experience than the normal website. Some of the most popular PWAs are Alibaba, Walmart, Twitter, Forbes, Pinterest, and Trivago. All these major businesses have reported double growth in conversion rate and revenue after launching PWAs.
What is a Progressive Web App?
A progressive web app is a website that is designed to offer the best of both apps and the web. The term PWA was coined by Google engineer Alex Russell in June 2015.
From the eyes of an engineer, a PWA is a collection of design concepts, technologies, and web APIs that work in harmony to render an app-like user experience on the mobile web. It is equipped with features that are present in native mobile apps and is accessible to any user on the web in a secure manner.
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You can also pin it on the home screen or app drawer of your smartphone and leverage app-life functionalities including offline usage and notifications. PWA offers a user experience that is very close to native apps
Why are Progressive Web Apps Sizzling?
Here are a few reasons contributing to the popularity of PWAs:
- Lightweight, faster loading and secure
- Offer advance features including web app manifest, service workers, and app shell
- Native-app-like user interface
- Efficiently works on low bandwidth internet and runs on offline mode as well
- Compatible and responsive with all types of platforms and devices
- Share the link and anyone can use the app from anywhere
- Cost-efficient and takes lesser development time
How PWAs can help your Business?
1. Instant service access
Smartphones are overwhelmed with numerous apps that are not just consuming the storage space but are also slowing down the devices. PWAs can save users from the hassle of downloading and installing the app before finally using it. Simply click on the link and instantly access the PWA.
Progressive web apps are compatible with any platform, operating system, or device. You can easily access the PWA on a smartphone, desktop, or tablet. This also means that PWAs are accessible to a larger number of people.
3. Less development time and cost
PWAs are built with only the features that its users need to keep the application lightweight. It means that it requires much less time to develop at a reduced cost.
Here are a few stats that substantiate the efficiency and effectiveness of progressive web apps.
- Pinterest: It’s PWA app needs only150 KB of data storage; much lesser than its native iOS (56 MB) and Android (9.6 MB) apps. PWA has helped Pinterest to increase visitor time by up to 40 percent and engagement by up to 60 percent. It also helped the social media platform to increase its ad revenue by more than 40 percent.
- Forbes: It’s PWA reduced the load time to 2.5 seconds from 6.5 and managed to increase the impression per session by 10 percent. It also noticed the decrease in bounce rate by up to 20 percent and the average time spent on the website increased by 40 percent.
- Twitter: Twitter’s PWA went live in 2017 to provide a more engaging user experience to its over 80% of users who were mobile. The PWA is designed to work efficiently on a slow Internet connection. At 600 KB, Twitter Lite is much lighter than its Android app (23.5 MB). The PWA enabled Twitter to increase page per session by 75 percent and reduce its bounce rate by 20 percent.
You can read more case studies reflecting businesses benefitting from progressive web apps here.
How to Design a PWA?
Here are a few essential tips to design an effective and efficient PWA:
- Progressive Design: Conceptualize the application with a progressive vision to render flawless and faster experience while enabling users to do their tasks efficiently. This is possible only if you know what users want and a progressive mindset can help you in figuring that out.
- Right Technology: It is crucial to choose the right technology to develop the application. All the technologies in Polymer, Knockout, React, AMP, Lighthouse, and IONIC among others offer different USPs in the PWA development. Learn how these technologies enable development and pick the tools that enable you to develop PWA efficiently.
- Keep it Minimalistic: We don’t have to complicate the progressive web app with a plethora of features. Instead, we just need functions that solve the purpose of users and eliminate the elements that they don’t need. This will ensure that we offer a clear and memorable experience to users through our progressive web app and they love it.
- Keep Essential Features Offline: PWAs enable users to access some of the features offline. Figure out the features that users will use often and make that functionality available offline.
- Push Notification: You can leverage push notification to make the PWA more engaging for users. However, strike a healthy number of notifications to avoid making them look like spam. Use push notifications only when it is required. For instance, you can notify them for the upcoming sale but bombarding them for regular discounts may not be a good idea.
With internet penetration increasing aggressively in the emerging markets, it has become imperative for businesses to reach customers with a solution that is engaging, efficient, secure, and works smoothly on low internet bandwidth. Progressive web apps can help organizations deliver an app-like user experience with lesser expenditure and maximum efficiency.