Originally published on Interaktywnie.com
Originally published on Interaktywnie.com
Even though the name suggests otherwise, Progressive Web Apps are actual websites which, thanks to a few additional elements, resemble native apps. In order to take advantage of a PWA, you don’t have to download it from an app store - just enter a given URL directly in your browser and then add the web page to your home screen. Apart from being easily accessible, PWAs are also fully responsive and work properly regardless of the device, browser and Internet connection.
Interestingly enough, Progressive Web Apps are nothing new. But their rapid development in recent months made them extremely popular. In fact, PWAs have an influence on the use of the mobile channel in business and even started to replace native apps in certain cases.
For a long time, the potential of mobile devices could only be used with native apps. But Progressive Web Apps are changing the status quo - especially if we aim to:
Trivago is a hotel search engine, which allows the users to compare offers available on different booking sites (such as Booking.com). Millions of travelers worldwide use it each month, and many of them are constantly on the move. This is reflected not only by the nature of the industry but also by the significant amount of page views on mobile devices.
Trivago wanted to be there for all the users, wherever they are and whatever device they use. But traveling often means unstable or costly Internet connection, which can make both browsing the website and downloading the app from an app store difficult and frustrating. Although the responsive web page and dedicated native app functioned properly, implementing a PWA made it possible to reach a wider audience, especially in developing countries.
As a result, more than half a million people added the site to their home screen and returned to it more frequently. PWA also enhanced engagement (mainly thanks to push notifications) which led to improvements in conversion.
Since Starbucks launched the native app in 2015, it quickly won the hearts of the customers. Its success motivated the coffeehouse chain to change the website and enabled the customers to order online. Just like in the case of Trivago, the key issue was the speed and stability of the Internet connection - especially in developing countries, where Starbucks started to expand its chain. The aim was to come up with a solution, which would allow the users to browse the menu, as well as place and personalize orders even without the Internet connection. Yet again, PWA was the right solution.
Above all, the challenge was to create a user-friendly interface. Many customers had already been used to the native app, therefore it was important to recreate the UI they knew and ensure the “native-like” experience. It wouldn’t have been possible with a traditional website.
PWA enables the customers to check prices in every coffee shop and place orders easily. They can also browse the menu and personalize those orders offline so that the Internet connection is not necessary all the time. What’s more, the PWA loads and works much faster, than the native app. It also takes up less space in the device memory - that’s why many customers decide to add the web page to their home screen, instead of downloading the app from the app store.
Unstable Internet connection or the necessity to download an app can be a serious obstacle for the users. Luckily, Progressive Web Apps are here to address those issues, combining the advantages of websites and native apps. It’s easy to use them, even offline, plus they give a lot of possibilities to engage the users (i.e. by sending push notifications).
It all depends on the purpose and the complexity of an app (which we have already discussed here). If the aim is to develop a simple tool, which ensures a good user experience with a relatively small budget, PWA will be a good choice. If it’s needed to take advantage of more advanced smartphone features (allowing certain features to run in the background or permanently saving large amounts of data, for example), then investing in a native app will be necessary.
Time will tell how the future development of Progressive Web Apps will influence the use of the mobile channel in business. At the moment, though, many brands decide to implement PWAs, without giving up on native apps.