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According to the Digital 2023 global overview research, 5.44 billion people use mobile devices globally today, accounting for 68% of the total population. The majority of these individuals access various websites and media resources via their smartphones’ mobile internet connections. Because of this, most websites are designed to be as efficient and user-friendly as possible in order to maximize user experience.

Why does it matter? because it takes a person a few seconds to become engaged in the webpage and interact with it further. 1% of visitors to websites usually leave after just one impression. If the website lives up to their expectations, 94% of visitors stick around.

Half of small businesses have a mobile app, and the other half intend to create one in the future, according to Clutch.co. A business can benefit greatly from mobile app development in a number of ways, including getting digital, being more competitive, establishing a presence in the market, and drawing in new clients.

Businesses build and provide Progressive Web Applications (PWAs) in an attempt to win from the outset. What precisely is a PWA, though? What are the advantages of PWA? What makes a Progressive Web App (PWA) superior to native apps on the market, and how does it differ from a Single-page Application (SPA)?

What is Progressive Web App?

A Progressive online Application (PWA) is a type of online application that mimics the appearance and functionality of a native web application across different platforms by leveraging web browser features and APIs. Put otherwise, it’s essentially a browser-based Native application that can be installed on a mobile device’s home screen, used offline, and configured to send push notifications. Pinterest, Starbucks, Twitter Lite, The Washington Post, Forbes, and other PWAs are among the most popular ones.

A single-page application, on the other hand, is a web page where the center section reloads in response to your query without reloading the entire page. Additionally accessible through a browser, SPAs dynamically upload the data that is requested from the web server. For example, some of the well-known SPAs are Gmail, Google Maps, Facebook, Linkedin, and GitHub.

What concerns Native applications, is the software program specifically developed for a particular operating system and device. Mainly, for Android and iOS. Native apps can be uploaded to your smartphone using either Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store. After the installation, the app will be accessible from the relevant icon on the phone’s home screen. For instance, native apps include WhatsApp, Spotify, Pokemon Go, and others.

Progressive Web Apps Features

Not all web applications qualify as PWAs. The true PWAs have a manifest file, an encrypted HTTP protocol (HTTPS), one or more service workers, and a quick loading speed because of their fundamental architecture. Let’s examine these PWA features in more detail.

Encrypted HTTP protocol (HTTPS)

Any web application should be a secure site and browsed through a secure network. This makes a website a trusted place and allows users to make secure transactions without having second thoughts.

Service workers

Service workers are scripts that control the way a web browser handles network requests and asset caching. With the help of service workers, web developers create reliable and fast web pages that can work offline as well.

Manifest file

The manifest file is a JSON file. Its main role is to control the way an app appears to the end-users. Also, it ensures PWA discoverability by describing the name of the app, the start URL, icons, and any additional information to shift from the website format into an app one.

Core Architecture

Due to being deployed smartly and seamlessly, the PWA’s major feature and great advantage over the others is its loading time.

Benefits of Progressive Web App

Of course, in addition to PWAs, other app kinds that are now in use include native, single-page, and hybrid apps. However, the kind of app that will work best for your specific business should be selected based on the elements that your customers would value most from the app as well as your business’s demands and requirements. Let’s talk about the advantages of progressive web apps because of these factors. Among the benefits of PWAs are:

1. Like a native app

Nowadays, some users choose mobile apps over web browser ones and vice versa. Everything depends on the convenience of use and personal preferences. However, there is a tendency that makes mobile applications a far better choice. What’s more, the number of application users is expected to amount to 1,033.3m users in 2024. Hence, PWAs look both good and feel like mobile apps with website-like performance.

In addition, the design of PWAs is similar to the Native apps’ design, PWAs and Native apps have a similar effect on user experience, the same speed, responsiveness, and comprehensive capabilities of websites with database access and automatic data. For this reason, Bing, Google, and other search engines index PWA pages and find them in no time.

2. Quick and easy to install

PWAs are installed straight from the web browser to any device. Having this feature, user abandonment of a web app is significantly lower with vividly enhanced advantage towards user experience. The installed app remains on the desktop or mobile device home screen and can be easily accessed from there. Also, it is not obligatory to install the PWA app to access it as it can be done via an URL as well. Due to the simplified ways to access the app, users find it credible, flexible, and reliable.

3. Enhanced performance

The running speed of a progressive web app improves because this app can function efficiently, operate like a website, cache, and serve text, images, and other content. This type of software enhances not only the page-load speed but also the user experience, improves retention rates, and promotes customer loyalty. Thus, if you have a business in retail or content provision, this type of app is just for you!

4. Working everywhere

PWAs can work everywhere. Users, who often switch between their devices can receive cross-support anywhere. This is done to meet the consumer needs, to make sure they receive a continuous experience, and to contribute to business automation, especially when it comes to companies that rely on PWAs as they need to understand that the software their employees use performs its best be it a platform or an app version. PWAs are highly responsive to various form factors, as they adapt properly to various screen sizes.

5. Operating offline

Besides working everywhere, PWAs can operate offline. Thus, when your network connection is unstable this type of app will still work as a clock, but in offline mode. Due to the built-in service workers, the features and information of the PWA are saved and cached. This allows accessing the PWA without downloading it, especially in terms of poor connectivity.

In the retail industry, the app is worth all the gold as in the case of internet crashes, it still allows viewing information users accessed previously and if the information is new – they will be redirected to a custom offline page. This way consumers will not abandon the catalog and this will enhance customer retention.

6. Updating silently

Progressive Web Apps updates are automatic. The app does not notify its users about upcoming updates and does not require user permission to update itself. The trick is that every time a user opens the app it updates immediately without downloading any batch changes and installing them. However, not all the PWAs update silently. If such a feature exists within the app, it will send its user a push notification informing about the new update’s arrival.

7. Sending push notifications

Commonly to the Native applications, PWAs also use the device’s push notification feature. This is a perfect capability for companies and their advertising campaigns. Why is this opportunity so great? Because users allow their PWAs to send them notifications and these notifications are highly noticeable on mobile screens. Thus, the companies have a chance to access their target audience, reach out to their users more often and become more recognized as a brand.

8. No app distribution platforms

Today, we can download apps from different distribution platforms. For instance, the App Store, Google Play, or the Microsoft Store, have their specific requirements for software stored on them. Sometimes, it becomes a burden to meet these requirements or the app can be removed without prior notice. Hence, by choosing PWAs you choose to be free of the distribution platform requirements and possible time waste and cost lost based on missing to meet some of the minor requirements.

9. More efficient security

As was mentioned above, PWAs use HTTPS to manage and maintain the safety of data stored within them and eliminate risks of security breaches, snooping content tampering, and other illegal activity.

10. Eliminating the development cost

PWA becomes a good investment when it comes to functioning on different devices and adjusting to screen sizes. Being so convenient and cross-platform, a PWA reduces developers’ time for its deployment and the customer’s costs.

Below are some examples:

Starbucks PWA

At first, Starbucks was a global mobile ordering app. However, the main need – to be accessible to the existing and emerging markets made Starbucks reconsider its application and re-deploy it into a PWA. And, due to the progressive web app benefits the daily active users (DAU) visiting Starbucks increased twice.

Uber PWA

Uber happened to be a native app that turned into a PWA. This transition was triggered due to the need to be able to cater to anyone without taking care much about the network connectivity and the device. Thus, Uber’s PWA was designed to work fast even with a 2G connection. Now, the core app takes 3 seconds to load, there is no app download required to get a ride.

Pinterest PWA

Back in 2017, Pinterest owned a mobile web app. However, there was a business need intended to offer a better experience for people located in low-bandwidth environments and the ones with limited data plans. Thus, Pinterest had its site rebuilt into a PWA. This was quite a benefit as the site engagement rose to 60%, user-generated ad revenue increased to 44% and the time users spent on the site reached 40%.

Forbes PWA

2017 was also progressive for Forbes. In their aim to re-design the user experience and bring high-speed performance, a PWA was a great choice. On considering the advantages of progressive web apps, Forbes explained their transition and stated that:

We spent months implementing best practices for mobile page performance across both iOS and Android phones. An m.forbes.com web page completely loads in 0.8 seconds, considerably faster than nearly all other sites and lightning-fast compared to our current mobile site. In geek speak, our new mobile site is also a Progressive Web App, meaning it meets certain Google specifications and can be installed on Android phones faster than native apps on iPhones.

Twitter Lite PWA

In 2017, Twitter decided that its users needed a more robust experience and delivered its Twitter Lite app with instant loading, greater user engagement, and lower data consumption. So, turning into a PWA Twitter has also witnessed the benefits of PWA. Its page session time increased by 65%, Tweets grew up to 75% and the bounce rate decreased to 20%. Twitter Lite is capable of loading in under 3 seconds even when the network connection is slow.

PWA Best Practices to Follow

Despite the fact that PWAs are very strong, which accounts for their widespread use, it’s crucial to keep in mind that not all Progressive Web Applications are made equal. Therefore, be sure you comprehend these essential best practices before giving an agency the design, development, and launch of your PWA.

1. Needs to be Fast

We’ve talked a lot about how user-friendly PWAs are, but if yours is slow, any of those other features won’t matter. And while one of the reasons PWAs are so popular is because they’re so fast, don’t take this for granted when hiring a developer or agency.

Read Also: What Are The Components of a Progressive Web App?

Your app’s loading speed and performance significantly impact user engagement and retention. Longer response times lead to higher user abandonment rates, highlighting the importance of swift app functionality.

Users expect very different things from websites and apps. They expect websites to have longer loading times, especially on poor network connections. On the other hand, users absolutely demand that their installed apps are consistently fast and respond right away – every time.

2. Need to Adapt to any browser

Your Progressive Web App (PWA) is built on Web technologies, allowing it to be both installable on devices and accessible through web browsers. To ensure broad compatibility, comprehensive testing across various browsers and operating systems is crucial.

Consider the diversity of browsers your users might use and cater to a wide range of potential audiences. Utilizing feature detection enables you to deliver a usable experience to the widest user base.

Progressive Enhancement, a design philosophy, complements feature detection, enabling you to prioritize universal functionality using simple technology. Subsequently, you can enhance the experience for supporting devices.

For instance, employing the HTML <form> element for form submissions ensures it works on all browsers, even those without JavaScript support. You can then progressively enhance the form with client-side validation and JavaScript-based submission handling, providing an improved experience on compatible devices.

3. Use any device

As with cross-browser testing, testing across devices is crucial to ensure your Progressive Web App (PWA) reaches the widest audience. Responsive design is essential for PWAs, guaranteeing content accessibility on any screen size. By adjusting content based on viewport sizes, vital data and actions are prioritized.

Ensure seamless user interaction across different access points. Support keyboard, mouse, touch, and stylus input methods to enable users to interact with all app features.

Opt for semantic HTML elements instead of custom designs, as they inherently support all user input methods. This ensures a consistent and accessible experience across devices.

4. Support offline experience

We already touched on this above when we talked about “connectivity independence”, but let’s delve into this term a bit more because it’s an absolutely essential feature for an effective PWA.

A seamless experience is crucial for installed PWAs, ensuring they work consistently even in slow or unreliable networks or offline conditions. This is why implementing a custom offline page is essential. This page replaces generic browser errors, providing a more engaging and consistent experience across devices.

To create a truly app-like experience, PWAs should function offline. Users should be able to access most, if not all, app functionalities without internet connectivity. For instance, important actions like composing an email can be saved locally and automatically sent when the device regains connectivity.

6. Provide the look and feel of an App

We’ve stressed this a number of times now, but your PWA needs to look and feel like an actual app. That’s the entire point and yet, it often gets ignored.

Here are some of the basics you should consider to make sure your company’s new PWA is fully embraced by users as an app:

  • Adapt your app’s theme based on user’s preferred color scheme
  • Customize theme and background colors for a polished look
  • Define your app icon
  • Focus on essential tasks, removing clutter like headers and footers
  • Use a standalone display mode for a dedicated window
  • Utilize the system-UI font-family for a faster, platform-native feel

Some of this will also depend on your specific market’s expectations, too. Don’t forget to customize your Progressive Web App based on what your specific customers prefer.

Bottom line

It should be obvious to invest in a Progressive Web App for your business if it depends on providing engaging user experiences. The examples we just gave you should have shown you how much PWAs improve site speed, usability, and engagement. There is a strong correlation between these three variables and higher revenue.

Therefore, in 2024, if you make just one improvement to your business’s online presence, you may join the hundreds of businesses in every industry who are utilizing PWAs to experience higher returns on investment month after month.

About Author


MegaIncomeStream is a global resource for Business Owners, Marketers, Bloggers, Investors, Personal Finance Experts, Entrepreneurs, Financial and Tax Pundits, available online. egaIncomeStream has attracted millions of visits since 2012 when it started publishing its resources online through their seasoned editorial team. The Megaincomestream is arguably a potential Pulitzer Prize-winning source of breaking news, videos, features, and information, as well as a highly engaged global community for updates and niche conversation. The platform has diverse visitors, ranging from, bloggers, webmasters, students and internet marketers to web designers, entrepreneur and search engine experts.