What is a Progressive Web App (PWA)?
How often do you type a URL on your mobile device as opposed to using an app? Apps are convenient and accessible. However, the drawback is the fact that native mobile apps require wi-fi, and if you’re offline you, use up precious data. Not to mention, downloading an app can use quite a bit of storage. Progressive web apps (PWA) take the native app look and feel to the next level. A PWA is essentially a webpage that looks like any other app, but requires no wi-fi and uses very little data and storage. For a webpage to be considered a PWA, it needs to include three key elements:
- It must go through HTTPS
- It must enable a Service Worker
- You must register a Web App Manifest
Instead of going through an app store, as you do when installing a mobile app, users can install a PWA through their browser on their device. If a website offers a PWA, then a prompt will appear for the user to add the page to their home screen. The PWA looks like a regular mobile app but allows users to engage with the website in a more immersive UI without any friction.
Thanks to that service worker, PWAs have the ability to run offline. A service worker is a script that your browser runs outside of the web page to allow caching and push notifications. Currently, major browsers support PWAs and the use of service workers. However, bringing PWAs to the desktop is still in the works. Not only does this mean less data usage, but it also means that users can visit your site without restraint, which means more conversions!
Benefits of a Progressive Web App
Save Data & Storage
One of the most appealing features of the PWA is the fact that you can use it offline without using almost any data. In fact, compared to native apps, PWAs use 25 times less storage space and could decrease the amount of data usage by about up to 90%! (AppInstitute) This is due to the service worker required to build a PWA. The service worker is responsible for caching content when a user visits a website with a PWA. This way if a user is offline, the service worker can serve a cached page from local storage.
Quicker Load Time
Users like things to load as soon as they make the click. Five seconds to load can seem like five minutes. Users are likely to leave your site if it takes longer than three seconds! Because the server worker caches data when the user initially visits a site, there’s no need to access the network when it’s time to load content. That means PWAs are consistently fast, even when they’re offline. They’re actually 15 times faster than native mobile apps. Because of this, websites that offer PWAs, have found a substantial increase in traffic and conversions.
With a faster load time, you also get a little boost on SERPs. Your PWA gets indexed quickly, increasing your site’s accessibility. Furthermore, the PWA offers an enhanced user experience, and that always helps out your SEO efforts. Users are more likely to visit your site if it’s featured on their home screen as a PWA. In addition, you’ll see an increase in user engagement since PWAs make use of a mobile interface and they don’t take time to load every page.
Not only do progressive web apps increase your traffic and conversions, but it also offers an upgraded user experience. That can only mean good things for you. Plenty of websites including Twitter, Trivago, and Pinterest, have all seen positive results thanks to progressive web apps. PWAs are becoming increasingly popular among major browsers for mobile and desktop. With a quick consultation about design and goals, we can help you build a responsive progressive web app for your website. Talk to us about how we can get the development process started.