Understanding Progressive Web Apps
Today, applications or programmes designed to be used on smartphones and electronic devices are perpetually getting more popular! For each operating system, there are apps created to meet different user needs–from educational apps to entertaining ones–available as free downloads or paid applications.
However, although some applications are available for free download, many users don’t install the apps on their devices for fear that the apps will up their storage. Therefore, Google had an idea to create a progressive web app (PWA) –the development of a normal website to provide an experience just like using an application as much as possible. It’s said that this progressive web app can cater to the user’s needs in the same way, if not more conveniently, than some applications. If you want to know what progressive web apps are, whether they can replace installed apps, and how they differ from normal web applications, read on to find out!
Table of Contents
What Are Progressive Web Apps?
Progressive web apps (PWA) allow for easy and convenient usage that is similar to applications. Users can access them on their mobile devices via browsers with no need to install them on their devices. Despite the similarity to a web application, progressive web apps have an additional role in that they can integrate with general websites, allowing them to be more user-friendly. Google has created progressive web apps that prioritise:
Credibility: Google greatly prioritises credibility, so web apps should be able to download the content despite no internet connection.
Quick response: Download speed is important for today’s users. Progressive web apps, therefore, need to respond instantly to users.
App-like features to provide a positive user experience: Progressive web apps need to have design, functions, and features that are as similar as possible to applications, and provide better user experiences.
Why Do Progressive Web Apps Matter?
When Google developed progressive web apps to work as efficiently as installed applications, many wondered, “Wouldn’t it be easier to download and install an app?”. The answer is no. According to the statistics, most application users are reluctant to download apps due to concerns of limited device storage, installation difficulties, as well as their familiarity and preference for using websites. Progressive web apps don’t require installation, and users can use them as efficiently as applications, if not even better. As a result, progressive web apps are essential for consumers nowadays. The steps when installing the app will start from Store > search for the app > download > install the app > give permission > use the app. For progressive web apps, the steps are lessened to: enter the website > click add to Home Screen > and you can start using the website.
Progressive Web App Highlights
At a glance, progressive web apps may look similar to web applications, but they are quite different. The highlights of progressive web apps that make them stand out from applications or web applications are as follows:
Typically, if a website cannot be displayed to users within 3 seconds, they will exit and may never return. Thus, Google develops progressive website apps to respond quickly to users. Progressive web apps will collect caches of the browser for every website visit. As a result, whenever users revisit the browser, the information will be retrieved from caches and show the results instantly without the website requesting information from the server. This enables the content of progressive web apps to be downloaded instantly on whichever page you click, including images and videos.
Equal or Better Functionality
Google has developed the features of progressive web apps to be as similar to applications as possible by selecting the functions of applications and combining them with those of a website. This allows for an equal, if not better, user experience. The areas that have been developed to make progressive web apps work better than applications are as follows:
- Progressive web apps can be accessed easily via the website, and don’t require installation or updates via the app stores, so they take up less space.
- Full-screen display without the browser’s address bar.
- The UI (User Interface) of progressive web apps has features just like applications, making them more engaging. Additionally, developers can customise and add extra features to make the web app function similar to or even better than applications.
- There is a notification system similar to mobile applications that can provide continuous alerts even when the web app is not open. This allows users to receive updates and notifications withoutkeepingp the website open all the time.
- Real-time data updates are possible without lengthy processing times.
- You can instantly add the website to your home screen by simply clicking on the website icon.
- Progressive web apps can also be used for SEO purposes by driving website traffic.
In addition to improving the responsiveness of progressive web apps, storing the browser’s caches allows the website to be accessible even without an internet connection. This capability creates a highly favourable user experience as it enables users to access progressive web apps anytime, anywhere, without worrying about a constant internet connection.
Safe and Reliable
Using the standard HTTPS security system, users can be confident that the system will secure their personal data and prevent unauthorised access, ensuring the safety of their information.
Main Progressive Web App Features
Here are some key features of progressive web apps:
- Accessible: the website is accessible on all browsers and across all platforms on mobile devices.
- Responsive: provides an appropriately timely display on all devices, including tablets and mobile phones.
- Connectivity-independent: storing cache data enables the website to function online and offline.
- App-like: an interface that looks similar to regular applications making it easy to use and familiar for users.
- Fresh: allows instant website updates without waiting for updates from an app store.
- Safe: provides safety and credibility for users by utilising the standard HTTPS security system, the same standard as regular websites.
- Engaging: you can re-engage with your customers, as they can receive notifications without leaving the app open.
- Install: installable even in the form of a website.
- Linkable: with a link that has its own URL.
Why Does Google Likes Progressive Web Apps?
Google favours progressive web apps because, in today’s era, most internet usage occurs on mobile apps, making it challenging for search engine systems like Google to access user data. Therefore, Google developed progressive web apps as a tool to assist in gathering more complete user behaviour data. Additionally, developing progressive web apps also benefits Google by providing a space to display advertisements. Hence, progressive web apps serve as a channel that Google utilises to enhance user convenience and improve marketing efficiency for various brands.
Progressive Web Apps combine the best aspects of easy-to-access websites and convenient, fast-performing applications. They are designed to enhance the user experience and cater to consumer behaviour more effectively. They serve as a pathway to improve the customer experience when visiting a website.
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