Ultimately, they can be a hassle. Of course, as usual in the IT world, scarcity is the mother of invention. And that is why we are increasingly able to enjoy the benefits of PWA (progressive web apps). Could Progressive Web Apps (PWA) be a way of reaping the benefits of applications, without having to deal with setbacks? Most importantly: does the increase in popularity of PWA mean that we are slowly saying goodbye to mobile applications?
Mobile first and PWA
The mobile first trend should be compulsory learning for every designer and developer. We reach for our phone around 200 times a day, but what for? Most often we look at websites directly in the browser available on the smartphone, but it is native applications that increase our time spent with a given brand. Why? Well, users like to have constant access to the product.
The benefits of PWA
Native applications must meet three main requirements to give them an advantage over websites.
- First of all, PWA must be reliable and provide users with content in an uninterrupted manner. In short, this means that PWA works even when you do not have access to the Internet.
- Speed is the best fit for reliability. And so is PWA. If the user does not receive a response from the server within 3 seconds of entering the address in the browser, he simply refrains from further browsing.
- The most important aspect is availability. Out of sight, out of mind is a rule that proves true for websites too. PWA is available directly from our screen – 1 click on an icon gives us the speed we demand in contact with the Internet.
- The most important aspect for creators is the user’s involvement. The most important aspect for the user is: who leaves them a comment, who “likes” them, and what’s new. PWA supports push notifications, and in this simple way, it lets the smartphone owner know it exists.
Native experience and PWA
In order for your site to meet the above-mentioned requirements and be PWA, it must have the following features:
- Security. This one seems obvious – it’s HTTPS protocol. “Safety first” applies here too.
- Responsiveness. Yes, we all know, everyone knows – but do we take this one seriously? It is important that the layout adapts to devices, otherwise user experience is chaotic and unpleasant.
- Reliability. Again. In other words, strong offline support is crucial. A temporary lack of Internet, can’t be an excuse for poor user experience.
- Availability. I have my favorite sites and I do not want to look for them in the “favorites” tab. PWA gives you the option of adding a website icon to the main screen of your phone. In this way you always get your favorite content quickly and easily.
- Adaptability. Of course. It’s disappointing when my favorite app is not available on every platform. Or when I change from Android to IOS.
- Speed. Interactivity on the 3G network in less than 10 seconds.
- Transparency. This is a key in order to not confuse the user. No one wants to spend time waiting for something, not sure of what the progress is.
Each resource on the page has its own URL. In this way, you can easily share specific content without additional/unwanted content. That’s enough for starters. If you want to be PWA and beloved by users, this checklist should come in handy. And now the moment of truth:
How do I determine if we are PWA?
What we should do now is sit down and analyze, check and adapt our systems. Fortunately, there is an easier way. Greater minds have made it easier for us. Good old uncle Google provides us with a tool to audit websites and applications. Tada! Lighthouse is an open-source tool. It runs an automated test to determine if you are PWA. The results are an analysis of SEO, performance and of course PWA. Thanks to Lighthouse, improvements are a piece of cake.
Why be PWA?
Why all this hassle? Because it works. Why should I fix something that is perfectly functional? Good question. Look at the data. You’ve probably heard of AliExpress. Thanks to being PWA, they increased the conversion of goals for new users by 104%. You’ve definitely heard of Twitter? After going PWA, it gained an increase of 65% in terms of the number of pages opened per user session.