How Progressive Web Apps Are Changing the Software Development Game

Photo by Pixabay on

by Sydney Stone

When you’re surfing the web, are you noticing that more and more websites now ask if you’d like to opt-in for their notifications? This is the result of progressive web app development. These sites and their owners are tuned in to how the majority of people are currently accessing the web, which is from their mobile devices.

Progressive web apps (PWAs) are the next frontier when it comes to website development. Companies are switching to PWAs in an effort to provide a better user experience while at the same time, increasing conversion and engagement rates.

So, just what exactly is a progressive web app and how did they become the topic-du-jour in the tech industry? Let’s take a look at PWAs, the features and benefits they offer, and why you should get one ASAP.

What is a progressive web app?

A progressive web app is basically the merging of a standard website and a mobile application. In essence, a PWA looks like a regular website but offers features and functionalities similar to that of a native mobile app, such as push notifications and camera and microphone access.

Popular progressive web app examples include Uber’s new m.uber application, which allows users to book ridesharing services without using the mobile app. Business magazine Forbes recently saw a 100% increase in its engagement when it launched its site as a PWA. And when Pinterest re-launched its mobile site as a progressive web app, the company experienced a 60% increase in engagement and witnessed users spending 40% more time on the site.

Features of progressive web apps

While most standard websites are merely “optimized” for mobile, PWAs go several steps further in enhancing the user experience. Progressive web apps are focused on fast access speed and prioritizing only the most important and relevant content.

Progressive web app advantages include faster performance as well as higher user engagement thanks to the fact that you don’t have to “download” them onto your device and use up valuable storage space. It’s also a lot easier for a potential user to find a PWA via a simple keyword search in Google as opposed to having to enter an exact phrase or name on the App Store or Google Play. Plus, users are much more likely to visit a website than download an app and it’s easier to share a link to a web app in a social media post or article. All of these benefits combined lead to higher visitor numbers, conversion, engagement and retention.

How to build a progressive web app

The great thing about building a progressive web app is that you don’t have to start from scratch. Any current website or application can be converted into a PWA with the right programming.

Many developers choose to build a progressive web app with Ionic because it’s a free open-source platform designed for hybrid app development. Ionic progressive web apps use a combination of HTML5, CS, and SaaS technologies. You can also build a real-time PWA with React. (Here’s a great tutorial on how to do it.)

Of course, before you start the process of transitioning your current website or application to a PWA, you need to decide on all the features and capabilities you want and what type of experience you want your users to have. For more info on what to include, check out Google’s Progressive Web App checklist.

Final thoughts

The reason progressive web app development is so important right now is that users are accessing the web more on their mobile devices than on laptops or computers. If you, as a business owner, don’t have a website that “plays nice” on mobile, you’re in trouble.

Of course, we’re not saying that PWAs will replace mobile apps in the future. It’s important to provide your customers and potential customers with as many ways to interact with your company as possible.

By constantly keeping the (ever-changing) needs and desires of your target audience in mind, you’ll be able to give them what they want before they even know they want it. And one thing they’ll always want is the awesome user experience that progressive web applications provide.