How Progressive Web Apps Can Transform Your Business
How many times have you tried to navigate to a website, only for your phone to close your browser and open your mobile app store (looking at you, Facebook Messenger). How many times have you been forced to download a separate application because a website isn’t mobile user friendly?
You don’t like it, and we can promise you that your customers don’t, either.
That’s where progressive web apps (PWA) come in.
What are Progressive Web Apps?
PWAs are websites meaning they do not require a separate download. As soon as you visit a PWA, you’re getting the crafted mobile experience. This typically looks different from the normal website but maintains the same user experience. For instance, when you visit Twitter or Facebook on your desktop or laptop and then visit them on your phone, the layout may look different, but the actions and experience remain the same.
You don’t have to download yet another mobile application; that’s a win. And that’s not the only great thing about PWAs. We can take the lessons learned from them and apply them to regular websites, too.
Features of a PWA
If you recently spent the money and time to develop a dedicated mobile application, hyped it up, and pushed it to customers, you might be thinking, “Why do I need yet another new thing?” Bear with us; the benefits of a PWA are innumerable. Plus, there’s no need for you to scrap the mobile app anyway, as it offers another option for users who prefer a dedicated mobile experience.
Here are just a few of the benefits a PWA can have for your business.
A Responsive, Cross-Platform Experience
Using CSS, a PWA is just like a mobile app in how it scales to any device’s screen, whether it’s a Google, Apple or Samsung phone. However, unlike traditional web applications, you don’t need to develop one for the Apple Store, one for the Google Play Store and one for desktops; create just one PWA and it will scale to all of your devices, from your phone and tablet to your desktop and laptop.
Offline Support Means Independence from the Grid
Is a large portion of your client base frequently off the grid? Or, do you simply want an app that you can access from the middle of the ocean to an airplane? You guessed it: PWAs can do that. With a service worker and an offline enabled app architecture, you can cache your PWA assets so users can surf your app even when they don’t have access to internet. Or, if their internet goes down, their experience isn’t interrupted.
It’s also beneficial for users on a low bandwidth connection, as they’ll experience your app at the same speeds as your customers with fiber optic internet access. With the right caching policy, your PWAs most important assets are stored in the browser, meaning less downloading and fewer requests to the server.
The constant notification symbol hovering above your app store icon is maddening. Does Pinterest really need to be updated this frequently? Just like a regular desktop site, PWAs update in the background. Your customers won’t need to go to their mobile app store and download the newest update. No notification symbol needed.
To use most features, PWAs require an HTTPS. That means your site – and your customers’ information – is more secure from the get go.
Linkable, Discoverable, Crawlable
We might sound like a broken record here, but PWAs function just like traditional applications. Traditional mobile apps aren’t searchable or indexable by Google, but PWAs are. That means every page in your PWA is giving you that SEO boost, leading to a website with higher authority on search engines.
Jump directly into the app from a Google search or share links to pages from the app: you can’t do that in a traditional mobile application without being greeted by your mobile app store.
Keep Users Engaged, Keep Friction Low
How many times has your mobile app store opened to prompt you to download a new app? Now, how many times have you actually downloaded that app? There have probably been more than a few times in which you’ve decided it wasn’t worth it. It’s the internet, after all; you can find the information you’re searching for on a different site that doesn’t force you to download yet another app.
PWAs eliminate that bottleneck leading to a better, faster and more secure user experience. Still, users can add the PWA to their home screen and choose to receive push notifications, making it function just like a traditional application.
Bring Your Brand to the Next Level
PWAs can create a more engaging, user-friendly and responsive experience for your customers. This leads to a greater level of brand recognition and even has the potential to increase your authority on search engines, opening up your company to a wider audience.
If you’re interested in starting to make the steps toward overhauling your online presence through a Progressive Web Application but don’t know where to start, call Blue Laser Digital. Our passion is to help brands like yours thrive and evolve in a changing digital landscape.