Progressive Web Apps (PWA) are the future of the App world. Nobody expected this when Google launched PWA back in 2015, but now the scenario is quite different. My first PWA app experience was with Uber, and the experience was quite remarkable and impressive—the most notable aspect being that it provided a comparable experience to native applications without utilizing any storage space. With PWA, storage constraints will no longer bother users.
According to various reports, mobile web reach is way higher, with 11.4 million unique visitors per month than native apps, which have 4 million unique visitors per month. More and more users are now moving away from downloadable apps because of their bulky nature. Brands like Twitter, Washington Post, and Flipkart have already launched their respective PWAs and are effectively utilizing this technology to generate revenue and increase their customer base.
Do you need Progressive Web Apps?
So, the main question is “Is PWA necessary when we already have a mobile app?”
Absolutely! PWAs have so many features that they will eventually take over the market in the next few years. They are highly responsive, can adjust their layout according to the device they are running on, and are supported by most browsers available in the. Most importantly, developers don't have to adapt these apps for Android and iOS separately, making them extremely cost-effective.
Another important feature is that they can work in low connectivity areas, which means 2G would also not be an issue. This means that people using a PWA would have the same user experience if they have poor connection or are even offline. Also, from a marketing point of view, these PWAs can be shared directly via social media and other marketing channels. Moreover, users wouldn't have to install new updates separately on separate devices, making it the most efficient use of storage space as well.
While the quest for Progressive Web Apps had begun a couple of years ago, the transition was considered costly and time consuming, but they are now moving swiftly towards it. For example Flipkart adopted a mobile only strategy in 2015 – permitting only mobile native apps.
The benefits are so extensive that companies can't afford not to make the change. If customers receive all the features of native applications with some additions, they will go for it. That's the key threshold for market acceptance. Firms seek the highest profit for the least investment possible. Developing both an Android and iOS app can cost anywhere from $20k to $80k, while a PWA can be developed for a fraction of this cost at around $6k – $10k.
Another advantage of PWAs is the page load times. PWAs load much faster than existing technologies. Most users are attracted to apps or sites where data processing is swift. On average, PWAs load 15 times faster than a native application.
Finally, PWAs are customer engaging. Like a native app, a PWA can send users push notifications. Companies can therefore re-engage users who had stopped using a PWA through a simple push notification campaign.
Progressive Web Apps provide a compelling and easily adopted mobile experience for their customers. They offer businesses and consumers better functionality and an improved user experience compared to those of native apps and mobile responsive websites. PWAs are a win-win situation for everyone. There is nothing to lose in trying a PWA out, and a great deal to gain.
The author is Director and Head – Creative Imagineering, Usability Engineering Practice at Infogain