Industry News

Technology Focus: Progressive Web Apps

Realm Digital 23 July 2019

The recent adoption of Progressive Web Apps are changing how users download apps, and ultimately engage with brands. Realm Digital delves deeper into the concept of progressive web apps and what they can do for you.

Simply put, a Progressive Web App (PWA) allows you to present a user with a web application as if it were a mobile application. Think of it as an ultra-optimized website for mobile, with an app-like look and feel. It can be accessed via your browser, and content is downloaded as and when you are browsing. 

PWAs use web capabilities to deliver an app-like experience. The benefit of being able to access it from your browser allows you to use certain features of the device, such as the camera and GPS.

Not all app experiences are worthwhile the data and space it takes to download. Considering the size of PWAs, the decision to commit to an app is easier for the user. From a product owner’s point of view, you enjoy the benefit of reduced costs and streamlined resources as it is cross-platform, so there is no need to develop separate versions for different platforms.

What are the benefits?

There are numerous general attributes of PWAs which makes them beneficial. As the name suggests, it is progressive, meaning it works for all users, regardless of browser choice, or future browsers there may be.

It is also responsive and responds to all device types. One of the greatest benefits, especially in South Africa where data is such an expensive commodity, is that it is connectivity-independent. This means it will work offline or on low-quality networks. This is essential in making sure your brand is accessible to all market segments.

It is safe and secure as it is served via HTTPS to ensure content isn’t compromised. 

Before we understand why we need a Progressive Web App, let’s explore some of the challenges we are facing today with native and web apps.

Internet speed
Did you know that 60% of the world’s population is still using 2G internet? The lack of a consistent and reliable internet connection can make for a very frustrating user experience.

Slow website load
Do you know how long a user waits to click the “Close X” button if a website is too slow? Three seconds! 53% of users abandon a website if it is too slow.

User engagement
Users spend most of their time in native apps, but mobile web reach is almost three times that of native apps. Hence, most of the users are not actively engaged.

Why should I invest in a PWA?

Fast: PWAs provide experiences that are consistently fast. From the moment a user downloads an app, to the moment they start interacting with it, is a swift experience. Because you can cache the data, it is fast to start the app again, even without hitting the network.

Integrated user experience: PWAs feel and behave like native apps. They sit on a user’s home screen, send push notifications like native apps, and have access to a device’s functionalities like native apps. This allows for a seamless and integrated experience.

Engaging: Because you can send notifications to a user, you can really drive the engagement by keeping the user notified and engaged with the content of the app.

Twitter wanted their mobile web experience to be faster, more reliable and more engaging. Twitter Lite was developed to deliver a more robust experience, with instant loading, user engagement and lower data consumption. After the release, they saw a 75% increase in Tweets sent, 20% decrease in bounce rate, and a 65% increase in pages per session. 

Interested in finding out more about Progressive Web Apps? Or would you like to create one for your business? Connect with us.