The number of mobile users has exploded in the last years. In fact, browsing the internet through mobile is expected to surpass traditional web browsing by 2021. Users will be relying on mobile browsing for both their shopping and information accumulation needs.
If you are an e-commerce company and want to connect with the customers through mobile, there are several ways to do that. Develop a responsive web design to begin with. After you’ve completed this step and think that you want to be connected to customers more often, you can introduce a native app. Native apps can be installed from an app store and can be used by consumers right from their mobile desktop.
The next big thing in the world of mobile web is PWA, which is short for Progressive Web Applications. PWAs have become a popular choice today because of plenty of reasons. It combines both web and mobile apps and gives you the advantages of both. Find here more details about technicalities of PWAs in detail.
PWAs were initially introduced in 2015 and gained ground because many retail and social media companies started utilising them. In the course of this article, we will not only study PWAs in-depth but also look at some of the differences that make them different from native apps and responsive websites. Let’s get on with it.
What is a Progressive Web App
Progressive Web App is application software that is used through the web. This essentially means that it doesn’t require to be downloaded. It contains many features from native apps and provides a user experience equivalent to it.
Twitter, the microblogging social media entity is one example of a PWA. If you log into your Twitter account through the mobile browser, you will be able to get notifications and use it even when you’re not connected to the internet.
Advantages of PWA
PWAs are enhanced with APIs and happen to be reliable in its functionality and delivery. They solve many major issues that websites and mobile apps have. Here’s how:
Ecommerce companies know that it is crucial customers stay on the website. Therefore, websites that have a slow load time are not advisable. PWAs on the other hand load quickly and the content is readily available to be consumed and is similar to the speed of native apps.
Developers can monitor the application process more closely in a PWA. A PWA’s ability to work offline is made possible because it archives essential information and features. Of course, the level of offline accessibility is dependent on a PWA. Some apps can work if the internet is disconnected, others notify the customers about connectivity issues while demonstrating data placeholder.
A PWA can be added to the Home Screen and allows Push Notifications. These app-like features help the app enhance the digital experience of users and re-engages them. With the location tracking and background updates, PWAs have a high engagement rate, regardless of where they are being accessed.
More effective search engine optimisation
The discoverability and search functionality on app stores is not the best. Also, when a customer is looking for a particular item to buy, they will not download an app to buy something particular given that it takes up space on their device and time. PWA, being web-based can appear quickly in search engine results since is ranked by Google. The content of a PWA can also be shared and linked, making the user experience seamless.
PWAs are not only easier to develop as compared to native apps but also doesn’t require developers to be versed in platform-specific requirements. For a native app, knowledge, and working of operating systems such as iOS, Windows and Android is mandatory depending on the platform you are developing the app for. Each system is unique and it is difficult for a web developer to be well versed in all three.
For PWAs, the developers need not worry about APIs and need a limited range of skills
Shorter update time
If you have a native app, the app store will require that you keep it up to date. A new version of the app will go through a review process and there is a fear of refusal if you’re unable to fulfill the requirements. The process is both lengthy and can cause the customers to abandon the app. Web Apps in comparison are easy to update and any changes you make on them can easily be noticed by the users.
Cheaper development cost
The development cost of a PWA is much less than that of native apps because the content needs to be created only once. This saves both time and money as a single web app can be run on all platforms and operating systems whether it is iOS or Android.
How does a PWA work and what makes it different
The three main factors that define PWA are a valid web manifest file, registered service workers and HTTPS.
PWAs have SSL certificates installed that provide it with security through an encrypted connection between its front end and back end server. These certificates ensure that all data transmitted between the web app and the CMS system is safe.
Valid web manifest file
A Valid Web Manifest File is one of the requirements of PWA. It is a JSON file that specifies details such as the app name, its author, version, installation icons, resources, and other information. It basically identifies the look and feel of the web app after its installation. All data of the web app throughout its lifecycle is stored in this file.
What makes a PWA high quality
In order to qualify as a PWA, a Web App is supposed to have the following characteristics. Alex Russell, Google senior engineer, and Frances Berriman, Google Chrome engineer developed a list of characteristics that define a PWA. These characteristics are as follows:
1. Responsive Web Design:
They are supposed to adapt to any device whether it is a smartphone, desktop or tablet.
2. Works offline
A PWA words whether you are connected to the internet or not. This is because it is enhanced with service workers that ensure its functionality in the case of poor or no connectivity.
3. App-like features
The navigation of a PWA is very similar to apps because they are designed on the same interface
4. Automatic updates
The service workers enable a PWA to be updated automatically without any trigger.
The transmission of data over a PWA is secure because of the presence of W3C manifests and Service Workers
Unlike a traditional app, a PWA doesn’t need to be downloaded. It can be reached from your web browser and acts like a traditional website
Since a PWA consists of a URL, you can easily share the application through Social Media or Email. This characteristic of a PWA also enables the use of marketing strategies such as SEO.
8.Search engine optimised
The W3C Manifests and Service workers make it easy for Search Engines to find PWAs, making it more optimised in terms of search as compared to Native Apps.
Since you can send in Push Notifications to your customers through PWAs, engaging with customers becomes a breeze. You can reconnect with them and notify them about the latest updates.
Choose an enhanced web experience with a PWA
The future is all about enhancing the end-user experience and a PWA combines the best of web and mobile to give you exactly that. Technology has steadily taken over the world of apps. The quicker you switch to PWA, the sooner can you reap the benefits that it has to offer. A number of industry giants such as Forbes, Alibaba and even Lancôme are using PWA to provide value to the users. From converting leads into conversions to reaching new markets, PWA has been a game-changer for these companies.
Get in touch with MPS
Multi-Programming Solutions (MPS) has an extensive portfolio in terms of web design and development. We understand the E-commerce business and how details are important to increase the efficiency of the process. We will help you at all stages of development so you don’t have to look for a new contractor. Our area of expertise varies from custom web solutions to game applications.
Since we have worked on Progressive Web Apps for quite some time, we understand its complexities. Call us today to get your first PWA.