What Are Progressive Web Apps?

The World Wide Web is an incredible platform. Not only is it an essential part of day-to-day life but it’s crucial for businesses and brands to grow and thrive. With the online world being so vast and filled with an infinite number of competitors, businesses are having to find new ways to stand out from the virtual crowd. This is where Progressive Web Apps come in.

Progressive Web Apps (PWA’s) are known for being incredibly quick and reliable. They’re ever-present, on home screens, and even taskbars. In these applications, unlike normal websites, you can do things such as take pictures, see playing songs listed on the home screen and control your playlist while in another app. PWA’s are designed to feel like part of the device they run on.

So what are Progressive Web Apps? Throughout this blog, we will discuss the benefits that PWA’s can offer, when you should use them and prime examples of successful PWA’s.

What is a PWA?

Progressive web apps (PWAs) are regular web applications/pages that have been designed to look and function like native mobile applications. Web applications can reach anyone, anywhere, on any device with a single codebase. Essentially they have been designed to look, feel, and have the functionality of an app but with the easy coding and visibility of a website.

At their core, Progressive Web Apps are just web applications. Capable, reliable and installable web applications. Using progressive enhancement, service workers (script that allows control of how a browser handles its network requests) and a web app manifest, your web app is developed to be reliable and installable.

Progressive Web Apps provide your users with a unique web experience they will love and remember. Using the latest web features to bring enhanced capabilities that aren’t found on normal websites and reliability, Progressive Web Apps allow what you build to be installed by anyone, anywhere, on any device with a single codebase.

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Benefits of Progressive Web Apps

There are a lot of reasons users love apps. One being that they generally offer better experiences than web applications. A problem with developing an app is that building and maintaining native apps requires a lot of work, not to mention the expenses involved. PWAs, however, don’t require you to code for each platform and are generally cheaper than native app development. The beauty of PWA’s, especially for developers, is their philosophy of “code once, use everywhere.” Once you code your PWA, it can be used in-browser, on desktops, and on even mobile devices.

  • Reliable – Progressive Web Apps can be used offline and provide a stable experience despite network conditions. Performance affects the users entire experience, from how users perceive your application to how it actually performs. Loading speed is critical for user experience. In fact, as page load times go from 1 second to 10 seconds, the likelihood of the user bouncing increases by 123%. Scrolling and animation should feel smooth and buffering is reduced to a minimum with a PWA.
  • Installable – Installed Progressive Web Apps run in a standalone window instead of a browser tab. A core part of the web app experience is for users to have app icons on their home screen, and be able to tap to open apps into their own native container instead of having to open tabs or manually search for a site. It’s possible to search for them on a device and jump between them with the app switcher, making them feel like part of the device they’re installed and like it’s meant to be there.
  • Security – User information is secure on PWAs as every progressive web app must have SSL certificates. Alongside that, it’s easy for users to ensure that they’re installing the right app, because its URL will match your site’s domain. This is a key benefit in comparison to native apps as they could have a number of similarly named apps, only adding to the confusion. Progressive Web apps eliminate any confusion and ensure that users get the best possible experience.

What brands use PWA’s?

We’ve given you some benefits on PWA’s and we’ve explained what they are but if that’s not enough, take a look at some brands that use them! Some of the most digitally advanced companies in the world are already taking advantage of PWAs. The numbers don’t lie! These companies have launched Progressive Web Apps and have seen impressive results.

  • Twitter is using PWA technology for its Twitter Lite platform. This became the default mobile web experience for anyone logging onto Twitter – and that’s roughly a 100million per day!

“Twitter saw a 65% increase in pages per session, 75% more Tweets, and a 20% decrease in bounce rate, all while reducing the size of their app by over 97%.” (Source: https://web.dev/what-are-pwas/)

  • Financial Times, big hitters in the news industry, is on the PWA train. The goal for the Financial Times was to give their customers a better user experience. They’ve even kept the traditional colouring of the paper (nice touch). It’s instantly recognisable and the experience is highly rated by its users.
  • Uber is probably the first brand you’d think of when it comes to progressive web apps. The PWA technology Uber has used means it can load in as little as two seconds, doing wonders for their Google rankings.

Progressive web apps are the future of web browsing and even the future of customer experience in the e-commerce world. Not only are they filled with advantages ranging from ease of development to improved SEO, but big brands are already jumping on the bandwagon. PWA’s give you the opportunity to improve your user experience alongside incorporating your branding into your platform. To discuss your company’s potential with PWA’s then contact the Brave team today.

Written by Jamie Flett

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