Progressive Web Apps, the app model of the future

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Progressive Web Apps, the app model of the future

The trend of progressive web apps(PWA’s) is gaining momentum and proving to be a rival to native mobile apps. In fact, few experts predict that PWA’s might replace native mobile apps in future. Rightly so! Brands like Twitter, The Washington Post, Forbes and many others benefitted from utilising PWA’s. For a clear understanding of PWA’S let’s start with the basic question…

What is a Progressive Web App?

The term Progressive Web App was coined by Alex Russell, a Google Engineer and he described it as “responsive, connectivity-independent, app-like, fresh, safe, discoverable, re-engageable, installable, linkable web experiences.” In simpler words, when a user visits the website through their mobile device, a PWA acts and feels like an app. PWA’s are app-like websites that combine best practices brought from mobile UX and deliver them to browsers. It is a combination of best of web world and mobile apps. PWAs override the limitations of a website and bring to consumers the usability and rich functionality of an app.  They can be added to a mobile device’s home screen with an icon. Like apps, they offer a full-screen experience to engage people using it.

Google describes PWA’s as

  • Reliable – Load instantly and never show a website as being down, even in uncertain network conditions.
  • Fast – Respond quickly to user interactions with silky smooth animations and no janky scrolling.
  • Engaging – Feel like a natural app on the device, with an immersive user experience.

How are they beneficial over native mobile apps?

Native apps offer seamless user experiences, and are available on App Store and Google Play, so why progressive web app?

1. According to Google, 53% of users will abandon a site if it takes longer than three seconds to load. The loading time of progressive web apps is lesser entailing the users with higher satisfaction and reducing the bounce rate. PWAs load 15 times faster than a native application
2.  PWA must be served over a secure network (SSL) making the user’s information secure and protecting them from the data corruption.
3. PWA’s do not require installation as they can be accessed from any pre-installed web browser
4. PWA’s are faster and cost-effective. Developing an Android and iOS app can cost anywhere from $20k to $80k, while a PWA can be developed for a fraction of this cost at around $6k – $10k.
5. They can work in low connectivity areas and offline too. A PWA is a web-based app that gets installed on your system and, where possible, works offline utilizing cached data. They enable push messages even when the user isn’t online.
6. PWAs are more responsive and provide a very good user interface. They provide a highly immersive interface which can keep customers engages for more time as compared to normal websites. Web push notification is also an amazing feature that has helped many E-commerce based is in increasing their rates of return visits.
7. They don’t take storage space on your device and are easily shareable. You just need to copy the URL and share it without having to install it on any of the devices.

Few major brands using PWA’s and how did it affect their business?

Alibaba:  Proving to be a bridge between the users of their native app and the mobile web, their Features such as “Add to home screen” noted 76-percent higher conversion rates across different browsers, a 14-per cent increase in the number of monthly active users on iOS, and a 30-per cent increase on Android.

Flipkart: India’s largest e-commerce platform introduced their PWA Flipkart lite with three times lower data usage which generated a 40% higher re-engagement rate among the first-time visitors and a 70% higher conversion rate.

Ola:  Their Progressive Web App generated a 68-per cent increase in mobile traffic. It also reported that the data usage for the Progressive Web App is over 300 times lower than for their native application.

Twitter: Twitter Lite PWA  requires less than 3% of the device storage space needed by Twitter for Android generating 75% increase in the number of Tweets, 65% increase in pages per session, and 20% decrease in bounce rates.

Conclusion:

PWAs are here to stay and slowly overshadowing and replacing native apps. Small businesses now have a chance to considerably better their performance and hold on to the forever fluttering user attention. Especially for e-commerce brands, PWA can be used to reach and engage new customers, as well as solve issues around conversion and cart abandonment.  There’s still a lot of room for both native and web apps in the app world and for few businesses developing both native and web apps might fit their audiences but, PWA’s will surely be the next major paradigm shift in the app world.

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