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Progressive Web Apps (PWA): Everything you need to know

Nowadays people spend a lot time on mobile apps. According to Forrester Research, consumers spend 85% of their time using apps. We use all types of apps: social networks, chats, music players, etc. These applications have proven to be efficient enough to meet the speed required for a good mobile experience. This mobile experience has yet to arrive to mobile websites. They remain slow, heavy, and often crash the browser in the middle of navigation. This is cannot be compared to the fast performance of native applications.
Companies such as Facebook and Google have begun to prepare initiatives to address this problem of performance in mobile sites, through initiatives like Facebook Instant Articles and Google Accelerated Mobile Pages. However, this initiative does not solve the problem, as most web pages offer to download the native mobile app for an optimized experience. What would happen if mobile sites could have the same quality and performance as a native application?

Progressive Web Apps: Applications loaded from your browser

Progressive Web Apps are basically a tool that analyzes the browser tabs that you access, and progressively optimizes according to the interactions of the user with a given site until it becomes an application. These apps are created from the very webpages and work just like any native Android or iOS app, and bring the same functionality with greater navigation accessibility. PWA start out as a simple tab in Chrome, and becomes a “progressive app” as you interact with it. After a while, it turns into an application and starts to acquire functions that were once unique to native applications like geolocation, notifications and offline use. In addition, the “site that goes app” acquires a faster navigation, layout adapted for mobile phones with different specifications and screen sizes and a shortcut on the home page. This kind of progressive application uses the capabilities of modern browsers to deliver a user experience as good as a native application. Note that these apps are different from a hybrid app, which uses an HTML5 wrapped in a native shell but still need to be installed through an App Store.

Advantages of using a Progressive Web App

The advantages of PWA for the user

The main advantage for the user is that they do not need to commit to downloading an app before knowing whether it will be worth it or not. No need to go to the app store, wait for the app to download, open it for the first time, or have to register before you can start using it. This is one of the biggest issues in today’s native apps, and progressive web apps promise to leave that barrier completely invisible and gradual.

The technical advantages of using a Progressive Web App

  • It is responsive, fits easily on any mobile screen resolution.
  • The application can work even when the user is offline.
  • The user does not need to “download an app update” from time to time, as it Is all on the web. The next time the user opens the app the new version will already be there.
  • The content of the app is served with TLS to prevent intruders, which makes it safe.
  • It is SEO-friendly, all search engines can find the content of applications.
  • Progressive web apps let you send notifications to users to bring them back to experience your app over time.
  • Allow the same benefits of apps as users can add the most useful or important apps to the home screen of the phone.
  • Easier to share content by sending the link to someone else.

Successful case studies of Progressive Web Applications

Flipkart, PWA based on ecommerce

It is India’s largest e-commerce. They built Flipkart Lite, which is the PWA version of the application which resulted in a 70% increase in sales conversions. In addition, the Flipkart Lite app had other impressive successes:
  • Time users spent on site increased 3 times
  • 40% greater engagement
  • Consumption of data was almost 3 times smaller

The Washington Post, AMP and PWA combination

Nearly 55% of its traffic came from mobile devices so improving the reading experience on mobile devices was critical to their long-term success. They were focused on making their mobile content load as quickly as possible, and get their articles indexed on Google. While they needed to use advanced features such as thumbnails, text details and links in their Progressive Web App, they achieved great success. For many companies that are producing original content this can be a great way to generate leads, reach out to new audiences and start creating connections with users who would not have used the application in another situation. I want to create an app now



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