The web is one of the most incredible platforms having the ability to reach anyone, anywhere, on any device (that too with a single codebase).
But today, we are not talking about just web apps. Instead, we will discuss the modern-day web applications also known as Progressive Web Apps. But first things first.
What are Progressive Web Apps?
PWA (Progressive Web Apps), as the name suggests, are the modern-day web applications equipped with the ability to deliver the exceptional user experience. To be precise, PWAs are designed specially to address the challenges associated with traditional web apps.
Thinking about the challenges? Let’s list them down from a user point of view to get things clear;
- Working internet connection is required to access a website
- Restrictions to send push notifications
- Slow speed, less secure and reliable
The above challenges gave rise to the modern-day applications; “progressive web apps”. In comparison to traditional web apps, PWAs are seamlessly integrated and deliver excellent performance on multiple devices.
In fact, progressive web applications take place between traditional web apps and native apps. Not only progressive web apps incorporate the features & capabilities of native apps, but also have the ability to be shared & used across multiple platforms.
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How Industry is Adopting this Web Solution?
Progressive web apps were introduced in 2015 by designer Frances Berriman and Google Chrome engineer Alex Russell. Thus far, a lot of small scale businesses and even industry leaders have adopted this solution.
But why are they still in trend? Let’s check out some of the statistics associated with progressive web apps;
1. Higher Conversion Rates
Studies suggest that progressive web apps have 36% higher conversion rates in comparison to native apps. Some of the possible reasons are security concerns, poor user experience, difficulty in navigation, can’t browse multiple screens, or compare different products on small screens, etc.
2. Increased Engagement
According to smashing ideas, companies that have adopted PWA’s have seen significant growth of 50% in customer engagement. Check out these numbers shared by a few industry leaders;
- 53% more mobile sessions – Lancome
- 160% more mobile sessions – MakeMyTrip
- 25% more pages per session – Twitter
- 20% more pages per session – George.com
- 20% lower bounce rate – Twitter
- 200% lower bounce rate – George.com
- 43% more time per session – MyNet
- 150% more repeat visits – Trivago
- 250% more repeat visits – OLX
3. Faster Loading Speed
We all know that a web page should load quickly. In case it doesn’t, it reduces the overall user experience and hence the ranking on Google, as page load speed is an important part of their algorithm.
Does your mobile website load after 3 seconds? There’s a chance that you are losing approximately 53% of your potential customers. Need a quick solution? We suggest you migrate your web app to progressive.
For your reference, check out these companies that used progressive web apps and improved their page loading speed.
- Treebo – By shifting to a progressive web app, this company dropped its median interactive time to 1.5 seconds.
- Forbes – It is quite surprising to know that the homepage of their progressive web app completely loads within 0.8 seconds.
- Wego – It is one of the best examples of progressive web apps, where this travel booking website reduced their page load speed from 12 seconds to 3 seconds.
- Zee5 – This progressive web app launched by this streaming platform is 3 times faster and has reduced the buffering time by up to 50%.
Due to the above reasons, progressive web apps are becoming more and more common within the travel, retail, food, and other industries.
Undoubtedly, progressive web apps have proven to be a lot of benefits for a business (in terms of conversion, engagement, and search engine visibility). But is it all, or are there any other benefits of migrating to progressive web apps? Let’s find out!
For any company, the budget is and will always remain an important factor while making a decision to enhance their digital presence.
The cost of developing a Progressive Web App is inexpensive. A business that requires native apps will develop separate applications for Android, iOS, and Web. To be specific, developing a native app for these three platforms can cost approximately $20k to 80k.
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Whereas, the cost of developing a progressive web application will be 3-4 times less or $5k to $20k depending upon the requirements. Plus they offer a huge advantage of reaching a wider audience by being compatible with all the devices (desktop or mobile) available in the market.
2. Easy to Maintain
A lot of companies ignore the maintenance cost of an application. Whereas, before building any application you should always consider both the development and maintenance cost of the application.
For any type of application (mobile or web), the fee for maintenance will be approximately 20% of the development cost. Because the cost of building progressive web apps is less than native apps, so will be the maintenance cost.
In general, the maintenance of an app includes the following:
- App Hosting charges
- Resolving bugs and releasing new updates
- The annual cost of any third-party plugins or so
- Tracking performance and marketing
So, considering all the aspects, you may have to spend approximately 20% of the development cost to sustain your application. However, this cost may increase depending upon your requirements.
Let’s assume that you are planning to add new features and at the same time want to change the aesthetics (ui/ux) of your app. In this case, the cost may reach up to 40% of the development cost.
Thus, if you choose to move ahead with progressive web applications the overall cost will be significantly lesser in comparison to native apps.
3. Smaller and Lighter
Progressive web applications can be up to 90% smaller and lighter in comparison to the native apps. Don’t feel shocked, it’s true. Technically, progressive web applications have the capability to reduce the app size below 1 MB.
Some few examples are;
- Twitter Lite: You most probably are already using the Twitter app on Android or iOS. Do you know what the size of their mobile app is? Well, the size of the Twitter app is approximately 23 MB on Android and approximately 120 MB on iOS devices. But if you will take a look at Twitter Lite, the size of the progressive web app is approximately 600 KB.
- Flipkart Lite: It is one of the most popular e-commerce retailers that leverage the open web API to build the app like experience via the web browsers themselves. The new Lite version uses 3 times fewer data as compared to the native app and has quick loading time regardless of the network type. The home screen icon has already accounted for a 70% increase in conversion rates.
- StarBucks: Just like Twitter Lite, Starbucks has also launched its superfast and light PWA with a size of 600 KB. As a result, it helped them to double their number of daily active users.
- Pinterest: With 150 KB of progressive web apps, Pinterest has increased by approximately 60% of the engagement and 40% rise in ad revenue.
4. Lower Bounce Rate
On average, the bounce rate of a mobile Google Search is 52%, whereas the average bounce rate of a progressive web app is approximately 42%. When combined with page load speed and smaller size, progressive web apps prove to perform better in search engines.
5. Offline Mode
The best feature of Progressive Web App development is the accessibility they offer even when there is poor connectivity or no connectivity at all. It stores the data and allows the user to access the information from the last online engagement.
This is because PWA is powered with a robust cashing system that is capable of managing offline requests. Furthermore, the offline functionality feature helps to achieve a high level of performance regardless of the network issues.
6. Push Notifications
Push notifications are one of the most important features that web apps miss out. The use of push notifications is the best approach to engage your customers with your application. Therefore, hiring progressive web app developers is definitely an advantage.
Stats show that there is a rise of 88% engagement rate and a 3x retention rate when you add a push notification feature to your application. This personal way of interaction empowers the brand as its audience is up to date.
PWA has unlocked the doors to some new features that were limited to native apps:
- Save data
- Saves time
7. Reliability and Security
Backed via HTTPS, progressive web apps are way more secure than native apps. This is because it doesn’t allow precluding snooping and content tampering. Also, the app takes the help of Web Bluetooth technology having certain security capabilities.
Few Shortcomings of Progressive Web Apps
Well, to be honest, progressive web apps do have a few shortcomings. But you can easily ignore them if you are short on budget and do not have a user base on a specific device.
On the other hand, if you do have a good budget and users on a specific device, then you must consider these factors:
1. Access to Hardware
Progressive web apps restrict the developers from accessing the hardware resources required to run the application. These hardware resources are platform-specific APIs and are required in a rare case.
So, if your application requires access to any of this hardware, then you must stick to native or cross-platform frameworks.
Though almost all the modern web browsers support the progressive web apps, still, the safari browser doesn’t. And if you have a dedicated user base on iOS, then you might fall short in reaching to approximately 23% of the users globally.
In such a case, a native app seems like a more appropriate solution.
Another negative side of a PWA is that developers can’t customize the application specific to the operating system. Every operating system has its own set of features, functionalities, and benefits. To utilize this to the fullest, you need to build applications that are specifically designed for an operating system.
Not only it allows you to customize the app according to the business & user requirements but also lets you build a desired interface with the ability to engage your target audience.
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Debunking Myths about Progressive Web Apps
Like any other technology, there are a lot of myths about progressive web apps. To help you better understand progressive web applications, it is important that you know everything about it; from all the good to the bad and even the myths.
So, let’s get started:
1. PWA’s Do Not Increase the Battery Usage
Well, that is the topmost myth about progressive web apps. The concept of these applications revolves around heavy programming, which clearly depicts the more consumption of the battery.
On top of that, if you are using a framework it will require more CPU power to process the code. However, to deal with this, the PWAs limit the browser time of service workers running in the background (when the idle time is too long). As a result, the PWAs do not add a toll on battery life.
2. No Access to Hardware
This myth is all over the internet. Yes, there are some platform-specific APIs that are not supported by the web. But in reality, PWAs do have access to the hardware.
Using a PWA, you can access the device camera, microphone, USB ports, etc. As mentioned earlier Pinterest, Twitter, Flipkart, and even Starbucks use PWAs. In short, if you are working with a top-notch progressive web app developer then you can easily migrate from a native app to PWA.
3. The Web Doesn’t Support Animation
Web browsers have started supporting CSS animations and transitions a decade ago. And it allows you to process the animations via device GPU, not the CPU.
When to Migrate to a Progressive Web App?
Are you an entrepreneur? Not sure whether to opt for a progressive web app or not? Well, we are going to clear your confusion within a minute. To understand this fact, let’s first list down the reasons for switching to progressive web apps.
1. Targeting a Developing Country
There are still a lot of countries around the globe that still don’t have access to 3G or 4G networks. So, if your app is heavy most of the users won’t be able to access it. In this case, using a progressive web app is definitely an advantage.
2. Target Users are Coming from Mobile Devices
Let’s assume that your business already has a web application and most of the users are coming from a mobile device. In this case, using the push notification, offline functionality and native app-like features make the life of your users easy.
3. High User Engagement and Conversion
A lot of companies like Flipkart, Uber, Twitter, Pinterest, etc, have seen a massive increase in the number of users and engagement with a progressive web app. So, if your native app isn’t performing well, you should consider migrating to a progressive app.
Do you relate to any of the above reasons? If yes, then you must consider building a progressive web app for your business. To help you further verify your decision, let’s list down the reasons to make your web app progressive.
Why Choose a Progressive Web App?
Though, we have already listed a lot of benefits to consider a progressive web app. Still, there are a few left in that list:
1. Access Anywhere: As you know that progressive web apps load faster, and available offline, it is easy to access from any device and location around the globe.
2. No Need to Download App: Unlike the native apps, you don’t need to download progressive web apps. With the help of a web manifest, it is possible for developers to make the app installable. This reduces one of the steps from the user’s end in accessing your application, thus improves the overall user experience.
3. Easy to Market: It is one of the most interesting aspects of PWAs. In comparison to native apps, it is easy to market a web app as you can leverage the power of search engines to reach potential users and increase your revenue for free.
The only sure shot way to win a customer is to make their buying experience super convenient. With a progressive web app, it is possible to do so as the users won’t have to install your application, can access the data offline (if revisiting), and will be able to access your service/product quickly.
From a business point of view, you will be able to target a wide range of audience available on different devices, with a performance-oriented web application having the ability to install and send push notifications.
After a thorough analysis, we can confidently say that progressive web applications are worth the attention they have received so far. Not only they are budget-friendly but also deliver an exceptional user experience without much work on the development.
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