The Hidden Gem of Progressive Web Apps

By now you might have heard of Progressive Web Apps and how they’re transforming everything we know about the internet. But what are they? Do they quite literally celebrate and push for progressive social reform? Interesting concept, but not exactly. Read on to learn more!

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) give users an app-like experience while browsing a website on their mobile device. Basically, when someone visits a page on their mobile device, the page looks just like a normal app would. It’s a condensed experience that offers the same screen taps and swipes we all know and love. (Source: Search Engine Land)

So what does “progressive” mean? It just means that these apps, or web pages, can show up on any mobile device just fine, adjusting their capabilities in the process. What makes them different from good ol’ fashioned native apps is that you don’t have to download anything needlessly. They’re still web pages, discoverable by you, Google, and other search engines. Though if you want, a PWA can be installed to your device’s home screen, receive push notifications, and even work offline or in flaky service areas just like a native app! (Source: Smashing Magazine)

How do Progressive Web Apps work?

PWAs use special scripts that work behind the scenes called service workers. They help keep the app running even when there’s poor connectivity. PWAs are built using the App Shell Model, which just means that the shell of the app, or user interface, loads first followed by the content. This provides a much faster, consistent, and improved experience for the user. (Source: Iconic)

Cons of PWAs

  • Might not be useful for a site that doesn’t update content regularly.
  • Not being in an app store means it may be more difficult for users to find a PWA. (Source: DigitalGov)
  • Users are 3x more likely to reopen a mobile app than a website. (Source: Smashing Magazine)

Pros of PWAs

  • Native apps lose 20% of users for each step between first contact with an app and actually beginning to use the app. PWAs offer immediate use. (Source: Smashing Magazine)
  • Much easier to navigate compared to a full desktop web page on a mobile device.
  • Lower data usage.
  • Accessible to everyone, everywhere, at any time.

Now that you know a little more about Progressive Web Apps, it might be time to consider if they would be a great addition to your online user experience. Coming in as not quite websites, and not quite native apps, means these guys are the best of both worlds!

Still not sure? Contact us today and our experts will be more than happy to fill you in!

Contributing Writer: Timothy Haberin

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