What are Progressive Web Apps and why should you care?

By admin | 9 Dec 2017

Not many people will be familiar with Progressive Web Apps but it won’t be long before everyone with a mobile phone or smart device is talking about them. Since tech giant, Google first introduced PWA in 2015, an increasing number of developers and brands around the world have begun to discover the benefits of them. But what exactly are Progressive Web Apps and how do they work? This post will tell you everything you need to know about this new tech trend.

Essentially, PWA are web-based apps which are developed to utilise the ease-of-use and simplistic interfaces that you get with mobile apps and present it through an online browser. This hybrid concept is intended to create a streamlined and sleek user experience, thanks to the use of an app-shell, while not being tied to specific devices or mobile operating systems.

Progressive Web Apps have come about as a way to solve common usability and network issues that often arise when engaging with browser-based content. For example, in areas with low network coverage, users will struggle to access content and load pages. Through the use of integrated service workers, PWA are able to load quickly and display their interface and content offline. Pre-caching features mean that these advanced web-apps are always updating in order to load up without the need for a data connection.

Developers and business owners working within the mobile industry may already be aware that apps look to be overtaking browsers in terms of average usage. In fact, the average time spent in apps by smartphone users has tripled in the last four years and in a number of countries has surpassed browser usage. Progressive Web Apps look to bridge the gap between the two by combining popular aspects of both. While the user will still get the smooth and simplistic experience that they have become accustomed to with mobile apps, the time spent getting there will be reduced.

As PWA’s are browser-based, they require no installation. This means that smartphone users no longer have to go through the lengthy process of searching an app market to confirm credentials and then wait for the product to install. With a PWA it is simply a case of clicking a URL link. What’s more, PWA’s can be saved to the home screen or app tray of a smart device for instant access. This is great news for all businesses as the link to their Progressive Web App can be easily shared through messaging apps, social media and any other data sharing platform. Their App can also be found in the various search engines.