According to Google, Progressive Web Apps (PWA) are user experience that has the reach of the web and are Reliable, Fast and Engaging. A PWA is a web app which caters to providing web-like experiences to its users. All users will now be able to get the same core experience in the shortest time possible because PWA’s use progressive enhancements to load important content initially and then show the functional and presentational aspects as required. They have more details about this here. In our post, we are going to check out what you require to build a PWA, how to build it, its Pro’s and Con’s and how to install it on Chrome.
If you want your app to be considered a Progressive Web App, your app needs to be:
- Progressive – Regardless of a users browser choice, the app should work for everyone.
- Responsive – It should work on mobiles, tablet, desktop, and any other form factor.
- Installable – Users should be able to keep their apps on their home screens without the hassle of using an app store or play store.
- Connectivity Independent – It should work offline and also on low-quality networks.
- Safe and Up-to-date – This is pretty self-explanatory. It should be safe from snooping and tampering and should be up-to-date.
- Linkable – It should have an easy installation process and be easily shareable via a URL.
- App like – It needs to behave just like a normal app and should be able to be identified as ‘applications’ so that search engines can find them.
How to build a PWA
You do not need to rewrite your entire application to convert it into a PWA. You just need to add a few layers to it. You should use HTTPS so that home screen installation is allowed.
- Create an application shell because that would be the first thing to load. It should exist in your index HTML document, with inline CSS. This helps the user see the content as quickly as possible.
- Register a service worker.
- Add push notifications and web app manifest.
- Configure the install prompt.
- Analyse the performance.
- Audit your app.
The Pro’s and Con’s of PWA
- They’re the future.
- Is connectivity independent.
- Cost-effective. Developing a website and a native app is going to cost you more than developing a PWA. Your business might just need a PWA.
- Not all browsers support it at the moment.
- Drains battery.
- Not all apps can be PWAs.
How to install a PWA in Chrome
- When you are visiting a website which offers a PWA, for example Twitter, you can click on the menu (the three dots on the top right of chrome) and select Install <app name>.
- Click ‘Install’ when you are prompted to install the PWA.
- You will now see that a new window for the application has popped up. It has its own taskbar icon and starts menu entry.
- If you want to uninstall the PWA, click on the menu button on the top of the app’s menu bar and click uninstall <app name>.
- You will see a popup now and you can click on the ‘Remove’ button to remove the PWA.
Examples of PWA’s that exist today
Below, you will find a few examples of PWA’s, which are currently available for people to use. You can check them out and see the ease of use for yourself.
The largest E-commerce platform in India, Flipkart, uses a PWA, Flipkart Lite. In 2015, Flipkart had tried to go ahead with an app-only strategy by shutting down their mobile website. However, because of connectivity issues, this strategy didn’t work well. They invested in a PWA which helped in increasing their conversion rates by 70%, three times more usage even while on low data and time spent on the site.
The largest ticketing company in India, BookMyShow, developed a PWA in 2017 and replaced their mobile site. Since a majority of their users used mobile for their bookings, it was necessary for them to create a PWA due to connectivity and storage issues. It helped users to checkout within 30 seconds which increased the conversion rates by 80%.
If you are a creative person, you might have already used Pinterest to find images and videos. Pinterest figured that their present website wasn’t getting converted into app installs or sign-ups. The PWA they developed to tackle this issue helped them increase their user engagement by 60% which in turn helped them increase the user-generated ad revenue by 44%.
So, are PWA’s the future?
By now, you might have gotten a fair idea of how helpful PWA’s are for a brand. Yes, at the moment, PWA’s are not supported on all browsers and software. But, at the rate at which technology seems to be progressing, it isn’t long before that happens. The cost for development is less than ten times that for a native app. PWA’s reliable, fast and engaging. They might just be the future of web development.
If you are looking for someone to help you in developing a PWA, feel free to get in touch with us here and one of our Account Managers will get in touch with you. Be future-ready!