progressive-web-apps-combining-the-best-of-web-and-mobile-appsOriginally introduced by Google in 2015, Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are close to becoming the next big thing for mobile web.

The new technology has already attracted a lot of attention because of the ease of development and instantly inspiring the users.

In its core, a Progressive Web App (PWA) is not much different from a normal website. It lives in the browser and is built using web technologies – HTML, CSS and JavaScript. But it acts like an app, that delivers much improved and amazing user experiences on the web.

Unlike traditional mobile applications, PWAs are a hybrid of regular websites and mobile apps. It combines the features offered by most modern browsers with the benefits of user friendly mobile app experience.

A PWA needs to be installed by users on their mobile home screen just ones, when they have easy access to internet. And whenever it is launched, the service workers enable it to load instantly, regardless of the network stability. It responds quickly to visitor interactions with smooth navigation/animations with no janky scrolling. Even in the absence of an internet connection, a PWA feels like a natural mobile app downloaded on the device that has an immersive user experience.

The service workers that are running the PWAs are like client-side proxy that is created with JavaScript. It puts the users in control of cache & how they wish to respond to their system requests. This is done by pre-caching the useful resources/information, that users can eliminate their dependence on internet network and enjoy instant & reliable web experience.

When to build a Progressive Web App?

A PWA is commonly recommended for resources that your users are expected to return to frequently. For example, Air Berlin, uses a progressive web app allowing users to access their tickets without an Internet connection.

For designing your PWA, first identify your users and the most important user actions. Decide what functionality to support offline. Further, if your website already has an app-like user interface, probably if you created it using a website designing software, applying the concepts of PWA will only make it better.

Why build a Progressive Web App?

To be specific, a PWA takes the best of web and mobile app to develop an optimum user experience that promises highest user retention and conversion.

On an average a mobile app loses 20% of its users on each step:

  1. Finding it on app store,
  2. Downloading it,
  3. Installing it, and
  4. Starting to use it.

And for websites – 53% of visitors are known to abandon a website whenever it takes more than 3 seconds to open the page.

But with a PWA, your users will be able to immediately start using your web app – Eliminating the unnecessary lengthy stages. As they return to the app, they will be prompted to add your PWA to their Home Screen for a full-screen experience. And when installed, the user gets a two-way access to your app – first through the browser and second via the mobile home screen shortcut.

Apart from these, your PWA also takes advantage of the following characteristics of a mobile app and a website to retain your users:

  • Engaging: A PWA offers an immersive experience with help of a ‘web app manifest file’. And it makes re-engagement easy through features like push notifications.
  • Fast: Once loaded, your PWA would work at optimum speed with no janky scrolling or slow responding interfaces.
  • Reliable: It loads instantly and offers a rich experience even with an unstable internet connection or no connection at all.
  • App-Like: A PWA feels like an app to the users because of its app-style navigation and interactions that are built on the app shell model.
  • Conversions: The ability of a PWA to deliver best user experience is explained by Google with casestudy of AliExpress. Their saw increased user conversions by 104% & 82% on browser and iOS, respectively.

Further, a PWA takes advantage of its characteristics of a mobile app that result in greater user retention and better performance, without the troubles of managing a mobile application.