Are Progressive Web Apps the Right Fit For Your Company?

Your business needs to target mobile users. Instead of building apps for both mobile and desktop use-cases, go with one app to rule them all.
December 9, 2021
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A web presence is a must for every company serious about keeping up with the competition. Once upon a time, a basic website was enough to give consumers, clients, and other visitors a means to find out more about what a company has to offer. 

That’s no longer the case. Just having a simple website isn’t enough. Although it’s a good first step, you’ll quickly find that the modern user has come to expect much more than static (or even dynamic) web pages that make it possible to view information or purchase products.

Today, users want modern features and interactive and productive applications that elevate the experience. Not only do those users want websites that offer outstanding content, but they also want to be able to use them on their mobile devices to get the best experience possible.

One of the best ways to achieve this is via the Progressive Web App.

What is a Progressive Web App?

The most important piece of the equation is that a Progressive Web App must be delivered through the web. This technology was originally designed by Google and aims at delivering a high level of performance and consistent experience, regardless of the device displaying the app. 

This means that, by employing the PWA standard, a company can create an app that functions in the same way every time, no matter if it’s viewed on a desktop, a laptop, or a mobile device. 

Let’s think about that for a second. 

Consider your company website. If you visit that site on a desktop web browser, it’ll look exactly how you expect. Every aspect will render and every function will perform. But what if you visit that site on an Android or iPhone device? Does the site function as well as it did on the desktop? 

If the site wasn’t designed with mobile devices in mind, it’s not going to either render or perform well. In fact, sites designed specifically for desktops don’t deliver a good experience at all on mobile devices.

That’s an important distinction to understand, especially given the majority of web traffic comes from mobile devices. 

If your site was built as a Progressive Web App (or converted to a PWA), the experience will be as good, no matter what device is used.

Benefits of Progressive Web Apps

At this point, you might be wondering what the benefits of Progressive Web Apps might be. You’d be glad to learn that there are many, including:

  • Work with every platform
  • Fit every screen
  • Can function both online and offline
  • Searchable
  • Fast content update and viewing
  • Secure navigation
  • Notification pushing
  • Anytime access
  • Lower bounce rate
  • Increase in engagement
  • Seamless UI

PWAs are also a great way to increase traffic to your website. Given so many users access the internet with a mobile device, an app or website designed to conform to such standards will give your business a bump.

Because PWAs offer a “build-once, deploy to any device” proposition, they can be considerably more cost-effective than having to build individual apps for desktop and mobile devices.

In this very on-the-go world, these features should be considered a must-have for your site.

Disadvantages of PWAs

Naturally, PWAs aren’t all benefits. You’ll find a few disadvantages to seriously consider, such as faster battery drain on mobile devices, lack of full iOS support for all PWA features, and lack of access to all of the hardware on a device (such as some biometrics, in-app payments, and camera access).

How Do You Build a Progressive Web Application?

It’s important to understand that building a Progressive Web Application is no harder than building a website. In fact, many website platforms and frameworks (such as WordPress), make it incredibly easy to ensure the site you build functions properly on all devices.

For example, there are actual WordPress plugins you can install that will create a PWA from your site. One such plugin is SuperPWA. With this plugin, users that visit your site will see an “Add To Home Screen” notification, so they can “install the website” and launch it directly from their device’s home screen. This add-on is, by far, the easiest route to converting a WordPress site to a PWA.

If you’re not using WordPress, you’ll have to turn to developers to build a PWA from scratch (or one based on your current site). The basic steps for creating a PWA are:

  • Build the application shell (which should include the index.html document using inline CSS).
  • Register a service worker.
  • Add push notifications.
  • Add a web page manifest.
  • Configure the install prompt.
  • Analyze app performance.
  • Audit the app to make sure it adheres to best practices.

It might sound like a complex process, but it isn’t. Any developer who’s worked with JavaScript and a framework such as Angular JS should feel right at home developing Progressive Web Applications.

Other languages and frameworks used for PWAs include HTML, CSS, ReactJS, VueJS, Ionic, and Svelte.

Conclusion

If your business is serious about growing traffic to your website, e-commerce solution, or services, the Progressive Web Application might be the perfect blending of every use-case and user type. By building just one application, you can be sure to please more users with less effort.

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