Progressive Web Apps – What you need to know in just 2 minutes

Last updated Jan 14, 2019

Reading time: 2 minutes

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) have grown in popularity recently. They essentially bridge the gap between mobile websites and apps by prompting users to “Add to Home Screen” when they visit a particular site.

Attracting users can be the most daunting part of Android or iOS mobile application development. Apps accessed via a web browser are automatically added to a user’s device when they click the relevant button.

PWAs offer many benefits. To understand how, keep the following points in mind.

Reducing Friction

Convincing a user to download an app is much easier when they don’t have to visit an app store to do so. Simply prompt them when they use your web-based app, and they’ll be more likely to download it thanks to the convenience of the process.

Optimising Performance

Did you know that more than half of internet users typically leave websites that take three seconds or longer to load? Ensuring a web app performs reliably is crucial.

That’s a major benefit of PWAs. They’re designed to optimise background functions such as content updating after a user first visits the site. That means they run smoothly and quickly, even in less-than-ideal network conditions. This is particularly important when you account for the disparity in internet speeds across the world.

Keeping Up With Trends

Do you know how many apps most people download each month? Zero.

Trends indicate the majority of consumers aren’t eager to download apps. Despite this, mobile devices account for most internet use. Finding ways to provide users with optimal online experiences when you know they probably won’t download an app is challenging. PWAs help strike the balance between internet use and app downloads.

Offering Key Features

Fast load times and offline availability are only some of the ways PWAs mirror the functionality of traditional native apps. They can also send notifications, are accessible via a device’s home screen, and are designed to offer an app-like UX. Thus, they’re valuable to users because they provide convenient functionality reminiscent of a strong native app.

Driving Engagement

Again, PWAs can send notifications to users. Traditional websites can’t. That means PWAs give brands more opportunities to engage with customers.

In many cases, reaching them is easier in the first place with a PWA than a traditional app. The rise of mobile web browsing means existing customers are likely to visit a preferred brand’s website via a mobile device at some point. While they might not seek out that brand’s app, they’ll be willing to download a simple PWA. The brand can then rely on PWA notifications to boost engagement among current customers.

These are all reasons you might consider releasing a PWA. A qualified developer can better explain whether this is the right approach for your project. If you choose to go down this path, you could offer users a helpful app while bypassing many of the barriers to adoption.

Natalie Abemayor

Natalie Abemayor

Editor at Glance - App Development Agency

Natalie is a graduate of McGill University with a degree in International Development Studies and World Cinemas. Since returning to NYC, she has focused on crafting quality content for the app development industry, with a focus on UX design and use case creation. When she’s not busy writing, you can find her rooting for the New York Rangers, attending concerts, or getting distracted by dogs.