Progressive web applications are websites that look and feel like a mobile app thanks to modern day technology.
Basically, this means that users can access PWA on their browser with a URL just like any other website. What makes these sites so unique is that once users land on the website, they get the experience of using a mobile app without having to download and install an app.
PWA is not limited to mobile devices, they can be implemented onto desktops as well. Chances are, you’ve probably visited a PWA without even realizing. If you’ve ever been on Instagram, Tinder or Whatsapp on your laptop, then you’ve experienced PWA.
These companies have already benefited from launching progressive apps. Aliexpress’ conversion rates have increased by 104%, time spent per session increased an average of 74% across all browsers and users started visiting twice as many pages per session.
With that said, PWAs has its pros and cons. Before you jump on the bandwagon, weigh out the pros and cons first to see if this is the way to go for your company.
Pros of PWAs:
- Development savings: A single progressive app can perform well on both Android and iOS and fit various devices so there’s no need to develop separate apps for different operating systems.
- Reduced installation friction: The chances of users launching PWA are increased due to the fact that users don’t have to visit an app store, install and accept various permissions. This is crucial as each additional step to download an app reduces the number of its potential users by 20%.
- Easy updates: With PWAs, users don’t have to update the app every time a new version is released like traditional apps. Users will always have access to up-to-date solutions. This is an important feature as it helps companies avoid software fragmentation.
- Higher User Engagement: The chances for better distribution are higher for PWAs as 80% (based on a study by comScore) of mobile users move app to the home screen intentionally. This makes the ability to be added to the home screen more competitive.
Cons of PWAs:
PWAs cons are directly connected to the benefits. Despite their progressiveness, it’s important to remember that these are still web apps and they have their limitations.
- Limited functionality: PWAs can’t support typical native-app features such as fingerprint scanning, vicinity sensors, NFC, bluetooth, geofencing, inter-app communications and advanced camera controls.
- Increased battery use: App sharing URL requires connection and it drains batteries faster than native apps.
- Search traffic on app stores: Not being in the app store leads to potential traffic losses.
Depending on the type of app you are looking to create, a PWA or native app might suit your requirements better.
However, it’s easy to see why dozens of major brands are moving away from native apps to PWAs. Both native apps and PWAs offer advantages and disadvantages and the latter is proving to be the best of both worlds. As the technology for PWA continues to develop, bigger and better things are coming.