Progressive Web Apps: A Brief Intro to the Future of App Development

Progressive web apps (PWAs) are best described as a combination between web pages and apps. They are websites with the same types of capabilities as apps. PWAs have become more popular during the COVID-19 pandemic in large part due to the increase in online shopping, being implemented by large corporations and small developers alike as a way to provide a user-friendly experience across multiple platforms. According to reports from companies such as AliExpress, Twitter, and Uber, PWAs outperform native apps in conversion rate, number of new users, and loading times.

Other important statistics regarding PWAs include:

  • A 36% higher conversion rate than native mobile apps, according to Medium in 2019;
  • And, 11% of ecommerce companies used PWAs in 2020, and an additional 24% have plans to invest in them in the future (Statista, 2020). 

What are the advantages of PWAs?

PWAs give organizations the ability to reach a larger group of people and save money on development and maintenance costs.  

1. Versatility and Reach

  • Since PWAs are used on browsers, they can be accessed on mobile or desktop devices.
  • PWAs do not have to be installed. The convenience of being able to simply click on a link and use a service without having to download an app leads to more traffic.

    Apps lose potential users at every step after initially viewing the app (installation, signing up, etc.). By not requiring an installation, some of the potential users lost as a result of that step will be recovered. And if a user would like to ‘install’ a PWA, there are options to add the PWA to your home screen and/or desktop and the PWA can be accessed just like a native app.

  • PWAs are much smaller than native apps, making it more attractive for users that may be apprehensive about data usage or device storage.
  • They update on their own due to Service Workers technology.

2. Offline Function

  • PWAs can operate offline due to Service Workers.
  • PWAs have lower loading times than both normal websites and native apps.
  • Pages are pre-loaded, so there is no dependence on network speed.
  • They are great for any business with a product catalog because users do not need internet access to search through products

3. Low Cost

  • With native apps, multiple versions of the same app need to be created in order to distribute it across different platforms (iOS, Android, etc.). Since PWAs run through browsers, only one version of a PWA needs to be created and maintained. 

What are the disadvantages of PWAs?

On the other hand, PWAs are unable to provide the complete experience that native apps can due to compatibility issues. 

1. Compatibility

  • Apple has certain limitations against PWAs. Among these limitations are a storage limit of 50 Mb, and restrictions from features like Face ID, Bluetooth, and push notifications. These limitations, especially the storage limit and the inability to generate push notifications, limit the overall effectiveness of the PWA. By limiting storage, the amount of content that can be put on the PWA is limited, and a lack of push notifications makes it more difficult to initiate interaction with users.
  • Since PWAs have only been around for a few years, older devices that have outdated web browsers have difficulty supporting them.  

Summary

PWAs take the speed, low-storage, and reachability of websites and blend it with the high-quality experience provided by native apps. This combination brings in more users, exposing your website to a larger consumer base.

At Americaneagle.com, we prioritize creating websites that operate quickly and provide the best possible experience for the user. To learn more about our website and application developments, click here.  

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staff at americaneagle.com
Our marketing team is always on the prowl for useful facts and internet tidbits. Be sure to check our blog often for all of our updates and posts!


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