Progressive Web App

By Joel Reed, OpenArc

In the quest to provide immersive full-screen experiences to users, the next big thing you’ll be seeing in mobile is “progressive” web apps (PWA). Uber, Forbes, Pinterest, Twitter and many others are leveraging modern web technology to deliver mobile app-like experiences that run faster, have improved user experiences and are often more cost-effective to develop as well as to maintain.

Most importantly, a progressive web app looks and feels like a mobile app. It is full-screen and can use the phone’s camera, microphone, GPS and push notifications. Regardless of how the user arrives at your site, they can be prompted to pin the app to their home screen, “installing” the app nearly instantaneously, forgoing the need to go to an App Store to download the application. With the web being the biggest platform in the world, building apps on the web is a way for users to engage deeply with your app, and the reach of the web allows your company to discover a whole new audience, enhancing brand awareness.

Progressive web apps are reliable, fast, and engaging. The reliability comes from instant loading, offline support, and never seeing a network error from the browser. The speed comes from quick responses to user interactions, and the engagement is the natural feel of the app on the device.

The user engagement benefits of a progressive web app are significant, but what about the development costs? How do they compare to traditional mobile application development?

Progressive web apps are reliable, fast, and engaging. The reliability comes from instant loading, offline support, and never seeing a network error from the browser. The speed comes from quick responses to user interactions, and the engagement is the natural feel of the app on the device.

Lower Development Costs

Typically, a progressive web app has lower overall development costs versus building the application using native mobile technologies. Compile time, testing time and deployment time tend to be quicker using web technologies compared to native mobile. Over the course of a development project, these time savings add up to have a significant impact on the overall investment cost of the project.

Secondly, with a progressive web application, you can build both your website and mobile application using the same platform, servers, people and code base. This reuse can significantly reduce development costs, both during the initial build out and as the application is maintained, enhanced, and supported over time.

Lower Barriers for New Users

It’s becoming increasingly difficult for startups and small- to medium-sized companies to be organically “discovered” in the App Store. They are now following suit with companies like Alibaba, Twitter, Pinterest, Lancôme and Forbes, who have each reported significant increases in usage and adoption when they launched progressive web apps. New users are given visual cues that a progressive web app is not just a regular website. Users report noticing progressive web apps are fast and fluid, which is becoming more important as users are spending more time on their mobile phones and consuming content outside of the desktop.

Again, by circumventing the need to open the App Store and download a separate application, the barriers to trying a new app or keeping the app on the user’s phone are significantly lowered, which naturally leads to higher conversion rates and retention.

Conclusions

Progressive web applications have first-class support from Google and are an exciting new approach to building mobile apps with lower development costs and lower barriers to entry. There are many reasons to consider building your next app using these technologies, beyond the overwhelming increase in user conversion and retention. There are high-quality components that can integrate into your app ,unlocking the ability for physical commerce, web payments, and credential management.

To learn more about progressive web apps, the technology, suitability for your project, and the right steps to get started, visit
www.openarc.net or email contact@openarc.net.