Progressive Web Apps: Can your business benefit? 

Progressive Web App Whilst Offline

A company that runs a website and a mobile app will need to maintain a smooth functioning experience for both devices along with tablets and both old and new versions of these devices. This means there is the possibility of companies needing to hire different teams with different coding backgrounds to build for iOS, Android, and web. 

On the other hand, the Progressive Web App benefits (PWA) are making their way towards business strategies and slowly climbing the trends ladder as the new web development feature which meets the growing expectations of the modern online user.

But why? 

In this article, we explain the pro’s and con’s with Progressive Web Apps for your business, because you may not need to invest in one or may find PWA’s are the perfect online solution for you.

Progressive Web App: The Breakdown 

Progressive Web Apps essentially bridges the gap between mobile apps and websites to create a seamless user experience which increase user engagement and conversion rates. The world is demanding remarkable mobile experiences, but users are reluctant to add another app to their device, so a PWA helps combine browser website searches with some app-like features: 

  • Users can install the webapp to their mobile home screen from the browser 
  • PWAs are cached by browsers, so it can be used offline 
  • Push notifications to the user’s device can be activated 

According to Jozef Toth at inVision App, 85% of adults believes a company’s website, when viewed on a mobile device, should be as good or better than its desktop website. So, let’s dive into the Progressive Web App world and find out whether this advancing technology is suitable for your business. 

Benefits 

Studies from AppInstitute shows companies who hosts a Progressive Web App experienced a 137% increase in engagement, a 52% increase in conversions, and compared to mobile only websites, their PWA’s experienced a reduced bounce rate of 42.86%! 

Low development costs 

PWAs does not require different versions for iOS, Android, and a website, which means content and functions only needs to be created once, reducing the overall time and budget. 

Additionally, PWA software updates are completed automatically, meaning both the development team and your users will not need to manually update the platform, resulting in an internal cost which is lower than building and updating a native mobile app.  

Speedy Solutions 

Realistically, downloading a native app doesn’t actually take very long, but in the modern world; if it ain’t quick, they don’t want it. 

PWAs do not require an installation process of visiting the Apple or Play store, which actually makes it 15x faster to download and install compared to a native app. 

When a user finds your PWA via a browser, they will be able to immediately start using itUsers have the option to download the app, which they can access it via an icon on their desktop or mobile which helps simplify the apps usage, reduces user abandonment, and significantly improves user experience. 

A great progressive web app benefit can include audience targeting, meaning specific groups can test the app without obligation to install the app and allows users to  feeling of control over what they download. 

In 2020, it’s stated that 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load; because people like fast sites.  

PWA’s are built to help visitors get from point A to point B as quickly and effortlessly as possible, cutting through the hassle of page reloads (which is what you’ll experience on a normal website).  

PWA quick-time loading helps users commit to the site and effortlessly helps them reach their goal. 

SEO friendly 

Since PWAs have URLs like that of a website, they are indexable and linkable which can actually help with search engine ranking and is a major advantage over native applications. 

The important factors to help your ranking will include 

  • The loading time of the PWA  
  • Create crawlable and unique content 
  • Create a unique URL structure 
  • Ensure web design is responsive 

PWA’s must be served over HTTPS to give security and protection to clients which ensures all instalment exchanges and client data is protected. Having this security feature can also improve your search ranking by proving you’re a reliable source 😊 

Better Performance 

The final Progressive Web App benefit includes Service Workers. Service Workers are JavaScript files that sit between web applications and enables effective offline experiences, intercepts network requests, sends push notifications and controls the caching of image and file assets. 

Even if the network is unavailable or unreliable, your PWA is sure to work and provide a sleek experience for those in a hurry where typical websites or apps may not be accessible.PWAs also uses less memory than native apps, eliminating a key concern for a user. 

To help with re-engagement for those who have downloaded the PWA, service workers are used to achieve the same goals as a native app by sending push notifications. 

Considerations 

iOS limitations 

Unless you have the iOS 11.3+, all older iOS models don’t support all the functionalities of PWAs on Apple devices.

Progressive web apps are actually the AppStore’s competition, as Apple makes revenue from mobile users purchasing apps off their store. Obviously, PWA’s avoid the need for native apps, so Apple had previously restricted mobile users from accessing any PWA sites.

With the latest iOS updates, there are still many limitations that Apple has inflicted; no push notifications, Bluetooth, face ID recognition, and you can’t download a PWA from any browser other than Apple’s own Safari. 

Restricted features 

Progressive Web Apps are definitely a leading platform compared to traditional web apps, but they can’t do everything that mobile apps can. 

As mentioned previously with the iOS technical limitations, there are also some device models that aren’t compatible with features such as Bluetooth, geo-location or advanced camera controls. 

Considering that mobile device users generated 54.8 percent of global website traffic in the first quarter of 2021it’s clear that mobile traffic is currently dominating the online world. As a company, if you’re experimenting with advanced components in your PWA, there may be a chance that it won’t work correctly for some devices which could negatively impact your user experience. 

App Store No-Show 

When users are actively looking for an app, they will use the app store. Although it is a benefit that PWA does not follow the long process of app downloading like native applications, there is the risk of missing out on a large chuck of these users.

Progressive Web App Appearance

How can you create PWA’s? 

The reason why PWAs are a growing web technology feature is down to the fluid, responsive interfaces and experiences it provides for both desktops and mobile users. This all thanks to a text file called manifest.JSON.

A manifest.JSON file is a JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) document that contains app parameters and defaults for a web application to successfully launch. It allows the user to download the PWA from the browser and be used similarly to a native app. It characterises the appearance and behaviour on the home screen, the icon, colours, fonts, and even screen orientation.   

If you’ve decided that a Progressive Web App would be perfect for your business, there are some pretty simple coding steps you can take by simply copying existing JSON text and modify it to relate to your own project. You can then save the file and add it to your page’s: <head> – <link rel=”manifest” href=”manifest.json” /> 

We have supplied some code below 

{ 

    “name”:”example123“, 

    “short_name”:”example“, 

    “start_url“:”https://www.example.com/?utm_source=pwa“, 

    “display”:”standalone“, 

    “dir“:”ltr“, 

    “lang”:”en-GB”, 

    “background_color“:”#FFF”, 

    “theme_color“:”#DC1F2B”, 

    “orientation”:”portrait“, 

    “icons”:[ 

        { 

            “src“: “/images/icons-128.png”, 

            “type”: “image/png“, 

            “sizes”: “128×128” 

        }, 

        { 

            “src“: “/images/icons-192.png“, 

            “type”: “image/png“, 

            “sizes”: “192×192” 

        }, 

        { 

            “src“: “/images/icons-512.png“, 

            “type”: “image/png“, 

            “sizes”: “512×512” 

        } 

    ] 

} 

 

Let’s run down what each of them mean

name: Your company name.

short_name: The shortened version of your company name which will appear on the icon. 

start_url: The main page url that the icon will take the user to. 

display:  The preferred display mode for the website (full screen, standalone, minimal-ui or browser).

dir: Shows the text direction is Left to Right (Arabic languages read the page rtl or Right to Left).

lang”: The language used within the app. 

background_color: Background colour of the app which is displayed on the home screen.

theme_color: The colour of the icon theme within the app. 

orientation: The visual display of the icon (portrait, landscape).  

iconsYour icon link that will appear once downloaded by the user.
You may need to create a selection of icon sizes to match different devices (Microsoft, android, windows…) 

 

How’s your website looking? 

So now you know the disadvantages and benefits of Progressive Web Applications. Having been around for only a short time, its remarkable how quickly it has established itself as a growing solution for new businesses by combining the best features of both websites and apps. 

At Brave Little Tank, we’re experts in PWA creation and installation and we’re already using PWA’s in our own client’s websites. If you’d like to join the growing list of website owners and businesses taking advantage of these modern and growing technologies, then get in touch today at hey@bravelitteltank.com.