Progressive Web app is not a complete mobile app but still encapsulates some important features of mobile apps. It can be said as an app that runs within the browser as a website. Just like a website, PWA is distributed through URLs. It is installed on the server and not stored in any individual mobile device.
When you visit the PWA the first time on your web browser, it will show a popup asking ‘Add to your Home Screen?’ If you click on the yes option, it simply bookmarks the website URL on your device (adds a shortcut) and shows the icon on your home screen. The progressive web app does not get installed on the device. If you want to revisit this app, you need to just click on the icon on the home screen.
Features of PWA-
--> The PWA works within the user’s web browser
--> It is cheaper to develop a PWA when compared to a native app
--> Users need not install it from the App Store/ Google Play
--> PWA does not need a separate codebase.
--> It provides the same level of user experience as a native mobile app
--> Service workers in the background load cached content to the browser even when offline or network is poor
--> It provides for a smooth navigation
--> PWAs can be easily added to the home screen
--> Push notifications can be sent even when the browser is closed
--> An HTTPS connection makes your PWA secure and protected.
--> A PWA is responsive and fits in any mobile device screen size.
Some fine examples of PWAs-
Since installing a mobile app requires space on the mobile, many users do not prefer to install it. How many new apps have you installed this month? The answer may be one or nothing at all. The number of mobile app downloads is increasing day-by-day. But the app download is mostly restricted to gaming apps and social media apps. Responsive websites have limited functionality. PWAs are better since they provide the feel of a mobile app but without occupying space in the device.
1. Twitter- This social media platform has around 400 million monthly active users. To make this platform accessible to users even in a slow network, Twitter designed the Twitter Lite PWA that instantly increased the user sessions. There was a 75% increase in the tweets sent and the bounce rates decreased by 20%.
2. AliExpress- This Chinese e-commerce giant wanted to do something to the non-app users. The decision was not tough. They went in for a PWA. This increased the total conversions by a whopping 104%. The time spent per session increased by 74%.
3. Housing- Housing.com is an online real estate platform that suffered due to slow loading pages mainly because their target audience had 2G network connections. With the introduction of their PWA their bounce rates reduced by over 40%. The average time-per-session increased by 10% across all browsers.
4. MakeMyTrip- This leading travel portal gets about 8 million monthly visitors to its site. To give a better user-experience it switched to a PWA. This increased its user session by 160% and reduced the page-load time by 38%.
5. OLX- This largest online classified ads directory in India connects local buyers and sellers. They wanted to work on the slow loading ads and pages. Their resultant PWA increased the re-engagement by 250%. The CTR on Ads increased by 140%.
Advantages of Progressive Web Apps
1. With a PWA, it need not be searched in an App Store. It can be searched by the search engines like the usual pages.
2. It does not require installation prior to usage like a mobile app.
3. It provides app cross-functionality. Switching between apps and information sharing becomes fast and intuitive.
4. PWA is faster to build and cheaper too than native apps
5. With a PWA, any updates are instantly loaded to the user browser when it is refreshed, unlike the mobile app.
6. Each customer has access to the same version of your PWA.
Limitations of PWAs
1. Integration with the mobile device’s hardware capabilities like sensor package, audio recording and Bluetooth is not fully possible with PWAs.
2. A PWA is dependent on the user’s web browser. Also, the functionalities differ from one browser to another giving the PWA users a varied experience.
Languages used for PWA-
When to go in for a PWA?
A native app requires a huge amount of money. If you are a startup or your brand is not yet popular, it does not make sense to invest in a mobile app. You can get a progressive web app designed from a good web development company and save on resources and cost. Many of the popular brands have shifted from a mobile-app-only experience to a PWA and have seen an increase in user engagement. What do you think about it?