What is a Progressive Web App?
The first choice you must make when considering the creation of an app is whether it will be a web app or a native app. You can share web apps more easily through links, and people can use them immediately. The users will not have to install anything, and they are multiplatform. On the other hand, native apps have greater access to hardware capabilities and are simpler to use on your device.
Now, what is a progressive web app? If you use a progressive web app, you can have the best of both worlds. It uses the technology in web development to build affordable services for businesses by combining the features of an app with the technology used in web development.
It may sound like an installable website with features like push notifications installable on your device. There is much more to learn about PWAs. Read more.
When do you need them?
Developing progressive web applications is, first and foremost, all about user engagement. If you are a user who doesn’t want to make extra clicks to download an app, PWAs are the best choice. Having a PWA allows you to engage with this large audience regardless of whether you already have a native app.
Building a PWA is faster and saves much money on updates and maintenance compared to native apps. Mobile connections and wireless networks are the most common access for most people, so they prefer apps and websites that use less data and are at least partially functional offline. And PWAs have everything. Building a PWA is faster and cheaper.
Benefits of PWAs
Many public and private businesses are converting to PWAs because they are less expensive to develop and provide higher engagement levels. Let’s now examine a summary of a PWA’s advantages:
- They are adaptable to a wide range of screen sizes and are responsive.
- They operate in the same way as typical Native Apps.
- There is no need to download an update to the Play Store because they are independent.
- With the help of this feature, businesses can avoid the issue of “software fragmentation,” which arises when they must support outdated app versions or risk losing users while they wait to launch an update.
- They operate offline, as opposed to other websites.
- They can be found using search engines.
- They are easy to set up and serve content over HTTPS, making it impossible for unauthorised users to access it.
- It takes less time and effort and is therefore cost efficient.
Developing PWAs: Considerations
Many top companies have switched to using Progressive Web Apps due to their growing popularity and ability to function similarly on iOS and Android. Some include Twitter, Pinterest, Uber, Tiktok, Spotify, and many others. So if you decide to develop such apps, there are some important considerations to keep in mind. It includes:
- Discoverable on search engines
PWAs are created first as web apps, so they must function on all browsers and operating systems, not just a few. Users should be able to use them in any browser before installing them. Therefore, it’s important to design them with the cross-platform feature in mind.
The app should have the same feel and appearance as a typical app, so be sure to include elements like an app icon to help make it instantly recognizable and elements like a splash screen to give it an app-like feel.
Progressive web apps should be engaging and look natural on the device. Instead of redirecting users to a default offline page, your app should keep them engaged even when they are offline.
You know that each company produces its gadgets with different screen sizes. Therefore, if you are a developer who wants to create a PWA, you must make sure that all users, regardless of the devices they use, can enjoy the product. It should be able to display its content on any screen size, regardless of the viewport. It should be quick and responsive to user interactions.
5. Discoverable on search engines
Making PWAs search engine discoverable is only fair, given that most of them are redesigned websites, as this will drive more users to your app. Additionally, this gives native apps a benefit because search engines can’t find them.
Both native and web app functionality have been incorporated into progressive web apps. Therefore, besides the benefits listed above, there will also be drawbacks. We’ll now talk about the disadvantages of using PWAs.
- Limited functionality and rapid battery drain on the gadget
- Loss of search traffic due to absence from app stores
1. Limited functionality and rapid battery drain on the gadget
PWAs, despite their progressive nature, are still web apps. They cannot support native app features such as fingerprint scanning, proximity sensors, NFC, Bluetooth, geofencing, inter-app communications, or advanced camera controls. They have limited functionality. Although useful, sharing apps via URLs drains a device’s battery more quickly than native apps do.
2. Loss of search traffic due to absence from app stores
The absence of app stores eliminates several steps users must take before using an app. Visiting the website, downloading the app, returning to the home screen, and launching the website are all that are required. Since the app isn’t in an app store, mobile web traffic may be diverted there to promote it to users, which could result in traffic losses.
Therefore, as we discussed, Progressive Web Apps are a more sophisticated form of web apps that have eliminated the gap between them and mobile apps. Despite the fact that it is still in its early stages, numerous large tech companies are using it for their products all over the world. Whether you are an individual or a business, they can ultimately boost your sales and financial gain if used properly. This provides an excellent user experience and maintains their satisfaction.
Hi, my name is Rahil. I work at YUHIRO Global and I help web agencies and software companies from Europe to build developer teams in India.