Progressive Web App (PWAs) have the potential to combine mobile reach with native app engagement. But few marketers know what they’re getting into when they go down that path—or decide against it.
When it comes to redesigns, you may be the sole decision-maker. You may simply be a voice in the room. In any case, you need to see past the shiny objects in web design pitches and know how PWA technology will help you achieve your marketing goals.
Baseline technical knowledge about PWAs :
Alex Russel, who coined the term— “websites that took all the right vitamins.” Made possible by modern browsers, PWAs enable an app-like experience within a regular browser, while circumventing the pitfalls of native apps.
In other words, PWAs try to combine the best of web and apps :
- • Lightning-fast loading speeds, without bulky app downloads and constant updates;
- • Optimized indexability, without sacrificing the UX benefits of native apps;
- • Deployable to all app marketplaces, without requiring different codebases;
- • Extended reach via lower data-usage, without curbing performance;
- • Enhanced accessibility through the elimination of downloads and app purchasing;
- • Offline web browsing, web access to mobile hardware, linkability.
Gartner has predicted that PWAs will replace 50% of mobile apps by 2020. Several digital titans—Twitter, Forbes, Uber, Alibaba, AliExpress—have already switched to PWAs, and there’s a growing collection of case studies that show the positive effect of PWAs on marketing KPIs: conversions, revenue, time spent, engagement, re-engagement, leads, etc.
Are PWAs compatible with most browsers?
Modern browser support of features like push notifications and home-screen save is integral to PWAs. PWAs require browsers to support “service workers” which almost all modern browsers do.
Why “service workers” are essential for PWAs
A website sending push notifications when you’re not interacting with your phone? Browsing the internet when you don’t have a connection? This is possible because of the service worker.
But what is it?
A service worker is a script that your browser runs in the background, separate from a web page, opening the door to features that don’t need a web page or user interaction.
We all know how a website works—the codebase is stored on a server, and any person can access it via their browser by typing in the domain name or direct IP address.
When it comes to PWAs, there’s an additional element: the service worker. It resides between the server and browser, adding a new layer of background functionality to mimic app-like features.
While traditional web browsing consists of direct user-to-server interaction, the service worker enables indirect interaction.
The performance benefit of a PWA :
First impressions matter. And the first experience your visitors get with your site is neither design nor content. It’s the page-load time. The most polished user journey means nothing if you can’t get your visitors to the starting line. And on mobile, some 53% of visitors abandon a page that takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
PWAs scale down the weight of data requests to a fraction of their current level. PWA adopters commonly cite up to a 300% performance improvement. For sites that are already optimized for speed, this can lead to near-instant loading speeds, akin to those of native apps.
Even without integrating AMP, PWAs help with the first page load by prioritizing the first meaningful paint and serving a light shell document with inlined resources.
UX benefits of PWAs :
1. Home-screen save
2. Push notifications
3. Offline mode
4. Deployable to app stores
5. Automatic updates
6. Platform Independent
7. Linkability and indexing
PWAs have promised to bring some of the best of native apps straight to a browser. Compared to web and app development, PWAs are cheaper to create and maintain. If you have any questions, Feel free to contact us.