Progressive Web Apps

The need for businesses to target customers on mobile devices is now well established. The question is no longer IF you should do it, but HOW you should do it.

So What Exactly Is a Progressive Web App?

Progressive web apps are web-based applications that load like regular web pages or websites, but offer the user functionality such as working offline, push notifications, and device hardware access traditionally available only to native mobile apps.

In its simplest sense, a progressive web app is a mobile app delivered through the web.  It functions like a native app, due to the use of a “shell” that allows for app-style gestures and navigating.  The main difference is that there’s no need to download it from an app store.  It runs, self-contained, right in a web browser.  With the help of something called “service workers”, a progressive web app is able to load instantly, even in areas with low connectivity.  With the help of pre-caching, the app stays up to date at all times, displaying the most recent version each time you launch it.

A business that wants to connect with its customers/clients has three choices…Build a responsive website, develop a native app, or create a progressive web app (PWA).

1) Mobile websites are quick and easy to get to, but they tend to be less pleasant in terms of user experience.

2) Native apps provide the finest user experience, but they are limited to certain devices and have extremely high barriers to adoption.  Native apps require a download, which means generating considerable buy-in from consumers first, and losing the benefit of impulse behavior.  Monetarily, that “consumer buy-in” can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars!

3) Sitting between these two options is the newest mobile solution: the PWA.  It combines the best elements of mobile websites and native apps while mitigating their disadvantages.

Progressive Web Apps Are Efficient And Economical

PWAs are more efficient than native apps.  They work on demand and are always accessible, without taking up a smartphone’s valuable memory or data.  By choosing to use a PWA over a native version of the same application, users consume less data on their mobile data plan (as is the case for the Twitter PWA).

But this doesn’t mean users need to sacrifice the convenience of a native app.  They are still able to save the PWA to their home screen — it’s installable without the hassle of a real download.  This not only highlights the improvement in user experience, but also the earlier issue of consumer buy-in.  Users must make a conscious decision, and even a commitment, to download and keep a native app.  Uninstalling that app is an equally final decision.  By contrast, clicking a simple link is an easy task that requires very little consideration, little data storage on your device, no lengthy download period, and no installation.

From a developer perspective, progressive web apps are also more economical.  They are faster to build and update.  You can also create a single version of the app, and it displays seamlessly and identically on all devices.  Rather than the segmented market of native mobile apps, where businesses need a separate app structure for Apple and Android devices, PWAs are unified to work on browsers that are common to all devices.  Better yet, they cost less to develop than a native mobile app.

How Can PWAs Benefit Your Business?

      • PWAs are FAR less expensive than native mobile apps…We can create an awesome, well-equipped PWA for you for less than $1,500 (native apps cost from $10K to well over $75k)

      • GREAT for SEO (Can be used as your mobile website or your desktop website, and can be ranked on search engines!)
      • You can connect with your PWA users via “push notifications”
      • Low barrier to entry (development costs, time, marketing)

      • High discoverability by search engines (created via HTML)

      • PWAs are secure (they have to be on SSL-encrypted servers)

      • There is no downtime for a PWA (works off-line via caching)

How Can PWAs Benefit Your Clients?

      • No Updates for Your Users to Install
      • Low Mobile Data Usage
      • No Storage Space Taken Up on Phone
      • Low/No Cost to the User
      • PWAs are hassle-free and fast to load
      • PWAs provide an app-like experience for your users
      • PWAs work on all platforms (mobile/tablet/desktop), all operating systems (iPhone/Android/Windows/Mac), and most web browsers (Internet Explorer, Chrome, FireFox, etc.)

Watch This Short Video Explaining PWAs...

Click the button to the right for an example of one of our PWAs.  Remember, they can be viewed on mobile devices as well as PCs.