The advent of smartphones and other devices brought forth native apps. These days, one can hardly make online transactions without using an app. From banking to online shopping, you need to log in to an app to complete your business. That’s why business owners ask, should we build an app? The answer is: it depends on your business.
Building and maintaining native apps is expensive and time-consuming. Not all businesses have the resources to build and maintain one. Fortunately, Progressive Web Apps are available as an option. So, why is PWA a great alternative to native apps? First, you need to know what it is.
What is a Progressive Web App?
Built and enhanced with modern Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), PWAs can deliver improved capabilities. They are also reliable and able to reach anyone using any device.
Three Pillars of PWA
PWAs are developed with the following principles in mind:
With Web Assembly and new APIs, PWAs are more than capable of providing what platform-specific apps provide. For example, Squoosh.app uses C, C++, and Rust to advance image compression. For a web application, this was unheard of before.
Speed is critical in business. This is also true in e-commerce. Having a reliable loading-time speed will lower the bounce rate. Also, users like apps that register their interactions instantly. That is why reliable PWAs are fast and dependable regardless of what network is used.
Progressive Web Applications should be installable. Installed PWAs can run whether on a browser tab or a standalone window. Even if they are not native apps, users should feel that they are part of the device. Also, PWAs are launchable from the user’s dock, shelf, taskbar, or home screen.
These three pillars help PWAs feel like they are platform-specific apps.
What Makes a Good PWA?
Progressive Web Apps are gaining popularity. You can tell because companies such as Twitter, Starbucks, Pinterest, Uber, Spotify, and many more are using PWA. As their use becomes more popular, it is important to know what makes a good web application.
Screen Size Responsiveness
Smart devices come in different screen sizes. It is important then that you have responsive web apps to different screen sizes. The contents and viewpoints should be responsive whether the user is using a smartphone or a tablet.
Easy to Install
When users install an app, expect that they will use it often. Therefore, make your PWAs installable. That way, users can easily install your web application and enjoy them like regular platform-specific apps.
Provides Offline Experience
Users want to experience their apps offline. They want travel apps to show trip details and have a playback option for their music even when offline. So, it is best to give users a custom offline experience instead of reverting to a default offline page.
Discoverable through Search Engines
Your web application helps generate traffic to your app. To do this, make sure that your Progressive Web App has a URL. Search engines such as Google should be able to index your PWA’s URL to your native app or site.
Works in Any Browser
As its name suggests, PWA is a web app. Therefore, your application should work in any browser. Whether the user installs them in Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, or any other browser, they should work perfectly.
Have App Icons
As stated above, Progressive Web Apps are installable. So, they need to have an icon, which will make them more recognizable to users.
Works with Any Input Devices
Just like having different screen sizes, different devices work with various input methods. Some use a mouse and others touch screens. Your PWA should work with these different inputs. It would allow your users to switch to different input methods while enjoying your application.
Now that you learned what makes good Progressive Web Apps, it’s time to know why companies are using them.
Why Use PWAs?
The reason why businesses are pushing to create apps is thatapp engagement impacts revenue directly. Apps streamline and automate many processes, including the customer’s buying process. People who download your apps are more likely to purchase or sign up for your offers. Also, features such as push notifications help in re-engaging users.
With so many benefits, here are reasons why PWAs are a great alternative for native apps:
- Your users don’t have to go to different app stores to enjoy your application.
- PWAs are buildable using common web technologies.
- Maintenance is easier with fewer code-bases.
- Your PWAs are more responsive to different screen sizes.
- They are fast and lightweight.
- Unlike your regular website, your PWAs work offline.
- Searchable using search engines and also available in app stores.
- Using PWAs can lead to higher customer engagements.
- Also, features push notifications to re-engage users.
- They are cheaper to build than platform-specific apps.