Progressive Web Apps (PWA's). What are they and why do I need one?
Progressive Web Apps are the future of the web.
What is a Progressive Web App?
PWA’s offer native app features and experiences with offline access and push notifications for a website. This unparalleled technology allows websites developed as a Progressive Web App to look and behave as a mobile application. Yes, that includes having a downloadable icon on your smart phone main screen. Cool, right?
And that’s not even the best part. They are faster than mobile apps and they operate without an internet connection!
You’ve no doubt experienced the inability to access a website due to your poor or non-existent mobile phone internet connection. This is where PWA’s are an absolute life saver. All information is cached which enables you to access the web app in the future without internet connectivity. This offline app can benefit business, in particular, with an online shop and product catalogue display. Offline viewers can still access the cached product catalogue through the Progressive Web App and save their shopping cart before making a purchase later.
Additionally, any credit card information stored on your mobile device will auto-fill during the shopping cart purchase prompts, decreasing the users likelihood to abandon the shopping cart by approximately 50%. Implying that there is a direct impact on convenience and conversion of sales, which means your return on investment for developing a Progressive Web App is very high.
Native (traditional) applications require significant budgets for maintenance when making the simplest of changes. Many apps are regularly left outdated due to a lack of budget to allocate for app developers to make changes. Even for simple app developments, yearly maintenance budgets are estimated at approximately AUD$10,000. Which are completely unnafordable for small and medium sized businesses. Plus the updates take a significant amount of time before taking effect. The developer needs to make the changes, these changes need to be approved by both iOS Store and Play Store, then the user has to click update. And that's if things go smoothly!
There's so many steps and processes to make even simple changes. This is where Progressive Web Apps have an enormous advantage over native apps. PWA's are significantly cheaper, easier and quicker to maintain through the use of a content management system - even you can make the changes at any moment.
Whilst being completely fluid and fast on all web browsers and devices, Progressive Web Apps help reach larger audiences in the largest expanding market online – mobile apps. Estimations suggest that by 2019 there will be over 5 billion mobile phone users, demonstrating this ever growing audience seeking content. And the low program file size makes PWA’s highly attractive for users. Below is a list of the average file size of apps for Android and iOS compared to PWA’s.
Low File Size
As you can see, there is no comparison. The ridiculously low file size ensures that the Web App is fast to load. According to Google, 53% of users will abandon a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Providing Progressive Web Apps with the ultimate competitive online edge. User retention.
The low file size of the PWA also reduces the likelihood of users removing it from their phone to increase their storage capacity once their device has run out of hard drive space. After all, deleting approximately 350KB won’t help you increase storage capacity.
When organisations such as WhatsApp and NASA are using Progressive Web Apps to replace their own respective websites, your ears should perk up. With the full weight of Google, Microsoft and Apple, there is little doubt that Progressive Web Apps are the future of mobile web browsing.
There certainly appears to be a strong emphasis on user experience with the development of Progressive Web App’s. Trends are suggesting that consistency amongst all devices is key for user experience and the tech giants are merely responding to the market forces accordingly. Seeing the same information whilst accessing a desktop, laptop, iPhone, Android, tablet, Surface computer and even on the TV, consistency and easy recognition is becoming a must.
Consistency, user experience and easy recognition are 3 core values that JABA insists upon whilst developing a website or a PWA.