What is a Progressive Web App, and Why Do They Matter?

April 2, 2021

Did you know that progressive web apps can reduce bounce rates, quicken page load times, boost user re-engagement, and improve conversion rates by almost 40%?

Here at GearedApp, we predict that progressive web apps are going to continue creating waves in the world of software development. What we love the most about this is that users are able to glide straight from Google search into your app, without finding themselves clumsily redirected to an app store.

Continue reading to discover what a progressive web app is, progressive web app examples, and a look into GearedApp’s unique progressive web app development process.

progressive web app
 

What is a Progressive Web App?

Progressive web apps (or PWAs) are basically websites that have all the features of a native app. They’re ultimately web applications that are a hybrid of regular web pages (or entire websites) and a mobile application. 

Beyond that, the “progressve web app model” is also a term used by software developers to indicate a specific type of development methodology. Unlike traditional applications, this emerging application model combines features offered by most modern browsers with the benefits of mobile experience through APIs.
 

Why Progressive Web Apps Matter

While still in their infancy, progressive web apps have the potential to create a shift in the way the web works.

Being built and enhanced with modern APIs makes progressive web apps a reliable and easily-installable development option for companies looking to reach anyone, anywhere, on any device with a single codebase.

It’s estimated that the user acquisition cost of progressive web apps is around 10 times cheaper than native apps. With more exposure and frictionless user onboarding, progressive web apps are equipped to acquire more users at a lower expense.
 

Typical Features of Progressive Web Apps

Highly-Responsive

Progressive web apps are able to fit any form factor quickly and reliably, ultimately driving better user engagement and experience.

Discoverability

As they exist on the web, progressive web apps can be found via major search engines, social shares, as well as through backlinks from other websites. 

Connectivity Independent

Progressive web apps prove that caching data isn’t just about speed, but it also provides valuable offline access for users in limited network and connection environments.

Installable & Linkable

As they’re installable to a user’s home screen through browser-provided prompts, people can store useful apps without the hassle of downloading from an app store. Progressive web apps are super linkable, meaning there’s zero-friction, zero-install, and zero-hassle to share.

 

Progressive Web App Benefits

Some of the biggest benefits of progressive web app development include:

  • Platform and device agnosticism
  • Behave like native apps.
  • Significantly cheaper to develop, deploy, promote and maintain than native apps.
  • Seamless offline operation.
  • Easy hardware integration.
  • Improved page load speed.
  • Cached assets reduce data requirements.
  • No dependence on app distribution services.                                                                                                                                        

Spotify Progressive Web App

 

Progressive Web App Examples

Spotify

The digital music streaming giant Spotify uses a progressive web app to provide superior listening experiences for users across the globe. Spotify’s progressive web app delivers a native look and feels almost identical to the company’s mobile app. 

The key difference is that the tech creates an exceptional user experience for desktop and offline users where speed, functionality, responsiveness, and accessibility combine to make a unique and adaptive UI experience.

Highland Titles

Highland Titles started by selling plots from the family’s land to restore land that had been devastated by centuries of farming and commercial forestry. While the Scottish company started out on a native app, they quickly migrated over to a progressive web app that was much easier to access and download. 

The progressive web app’s plot finder function displays the distance once users are within 10km of their designated plot. Once nearby, the directions become more detailed using cached assets. Additional functionality of Highland Title’s progressive web app includes supporting users in multiple languages, like English, French and German.

 

How to Develop a Progressive Web App

When the team here at GearedApp begins work on progressive web app development, we start by first matching the PWA criteria. This involves caching assets and making all content or data available offline, which allows a progressive web app to be installed locally on a user’s smartphone.

We design and develop the progressive web app to function with a user’s fingers on mobile devices and ensure the new app is optimised for desktop use.

As a website that should look, feel and function like a native app, we understand the importance of making the experience as seamless as possible. This means it’s critical to make sure a responsive progressive web app matches any phone size to respond to actions triggered by the user. 

We work to ensure that progressive web apps perform just as well as native apps. After all, if a mobile app is taking time to load its content or the data are not readable after a few seconds, the user will uninstall it.

 

Are Progressive Web Apps the Future?

In short, yes! Progressive web apps are considered the future of multi-platform development due to the tech’s functionality across several devices, the improved speed, and the advantage that they require no installation or updates.

However, progressive web apps are absolutely not a universal replacement for all native apps. Before embarking on a software development journey of any kind, you must put the user at the centre. Digital experiences that create compelling and engaging customer experiences are what bring people back time and again. If a native app experience meets this need, then you shouldn’t rule the option out.  

Depending on your desired application, progressive web apps deliver a smoother, commitment-free user experience. The tech works from a simple system anchored on a website anyone can visit — creating more unified user experiences. 

As users increasingly expect seamless digital experiences, now is a great time to embrace progressive web apps and integrate the technologies into your ecosystem of customer touchpoints.

 

Discover Progressive Web App Development You Can Count On

Our friendly team of pros will be with you every step of the way, from our initial sit-down chat all the way to releasing the finished product. Discover our process to find out more about how GearedApp works.

Get in touch today to find out how we can help turn your awesome ideas into a digital reality.

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