In 2015, designer Frances Berriman and engineer Alex Russell coined the term ‘progessive web app’ for apps that combine the best of both web and mobile apps. For users, these apps are useful from the very first visit via browser, no install needed.
Progressive web app development services are looking to take advantage of new features supported by browsers – like service workers and web app manifests that allow users to upgrade web apps to progressive web apps in a native application. Alex Russell says, “Progressive web apps are just websites that took all the right vitamins.”
How Do They Work?
When we talk about progressive web app development or a progressive web app development company, we are talking about a technology that combines the open standards of the web offered by modern browsers to provide benefits of a rich mobile experience. Progressive web apps load like regular web pages and offer features such as working offline, push notifications, and much more which was often only available to native mobile apps. Google says that progressive web apps are user experiences that utilize the reach of the web, and are:
- Reliable – Load instantly and don’t go down – even in poor network conditions
- Fast – Respond quickly to user interactions, offer smooth animations, and no scrolling
- Engaging – It should feel like a native app on the device, that means it needs a very immersive user experience.
Features of Progressive Web Apps
- Progressive – Regardless of the browser used, the apps works for different users because it is built with progressive enhancement
- Responsive – Performance should be seamless across devices – whether it is desktop, mobile, tablet, or whatever is on the horizon.
- Connectivity – The app should perform well offline or on low-quality networks
- App-like – App-like features separate the functionality from application content
- Fresh – Always updated because of the service worker update process
- Safe – Use HTTPS to ensure best safety practices
- Discoverable – Allows search engines to find apps as it is identifiable as an “application” because of W3C manifest and service worker registration.
- Re-engageable – Re-engagement is easy through features like push notifications.
- Installable – Lets users add apps that they find useful to their home screen while avoiding the hassle of the app store
- Linkable – Share the application via URL, it does not require a complex installation
Progressive Web App Advantages
Progressive web apps represent an incremental enhancement of web technology that already exists. Because of this, they do not need separate distribution or approval of updates because the publication of a progressive web app is the same as any other web page.
In progressive web application development, you need to realize just how crowded the app market is. The Google Play Store has 2.8 million available apps. With the stores being so saturated, users are often skeptical about downloading another app. PWA is a great solution. PWA removes the step of downloading because the app instantly appears on the home screen. Also, they work on demand and are accessible when required.
Progressive web apps can be downloaded directly to mobile devices – where they will appear as an app icon. Also, they will use less space than native apps. In fact, one of the largest advantages is the fact that PWAs don’t need additional space on a smartphone, because that enhances the performance of smartphones. If users opt for a progressive web app over a native app, they will consume less data.
PWA Success Stories
As we examine progressive web app development, it could be helpful to examine the success stories behind a progressive web app development company or a company that rolled out a progressive web app. Below are some examples of progressive web app successes.
Twitter opted to create and develop an app specifically designed for mobile devices. Twitter Lite – as it is called – first launched as a progressive web app for the mobile web in April 2017. The Lite version of the app uses less mobile data, has reduced load times, and takes up less space on the device.
Believe it or not, Starbucks was an early adopter of PWA. Starbucks wanted to make it easy for users to browse the menu, create custom orders, and add the list to the website’s shopping cart. But, because Starbucks has a presence in many countries, including developing countries with less than stellar internet connectivity.
It is clear – beyond a shadow of a doubt – that progressive web apps are here to stay. At KitelyTech, we’ve spent years forecasting tech trends, and watching the sector to notice developing trends in web application development and more. If that sounds interesting to you, follow this link to read more. If you are an entrepreneur looking to augment and improve your business with a web application, a progressive web app, or something else entirely. Contact KitelyTech today and ask how we can help.