What are Progressive Web Apps?

16/02/2018 by Fran Davison

Integration is the key principle behind Progressive Web Apps (PWAs), they are an emerging web technology, pioneered by Google, paving the way in the web industry. Put simply, Progressive Web Apps blur the line between websites and mobile apps – a website which creates an app-like experience. It aims to enhance the users’ experience as well as increasing engagement.

Progressive Web Apps simplify the path users can take to access your content. The ability to add websites straight to your mobile home screen means content is easily accessible in an app-like experience. This is done quickly and simply; the content is fast, secure and can be available offline. What’s not to love?

The best bits

Converting to PWAs shows some really great benefits. The following key factors set the standard for what a Progressive Web App should be:

  • App like – A mobile app-like experience familiar to users.
  • Progressive – Providing the best possible experience in every web browser.
  • Responsive – Designed and built to adapt the perfect experience for your device.
  • Connectivity independent – Fast response times on patchy connections and offline ability.
  • Fresh – Service worker technology means content stays up-to-date.
  • Safe – Delivered over HTTPS to keep personal data secure.
  • Discoverable – Accessible via search engines, no need for an app store.
  • Re-engageable – Features such as push notifications keep users engaged.
  • Installable – They can be easily added to a phone’s home screen.
  • Linkable – Can be shared with others via a URL.

We can’t wait to bring these exciting new features to life. We’re currently working with an NHS Foundation Trust to take their website to the next level. PWAs certainly have their place in the healthcare industry, providing a fast, accessible experience to users. With features such as push notifications, Trusts can securely deliver important messages to their users. In times of emergency, important information can be provided to users with a poor internet connection, or no connection at all. Providing users and staff access straight from their phone’s home screen means there’s a quick route to the information they need. All these features can be provided with a progressive approach, without having to worry about which devices will or won’t be supported.

Benefits of a Progressive Web App

Progressive Web Apps can benefit both parties; the business and the user. Statistics suggest that 20% of users get lost at each step in the regular app download process,  but 87% of mobile internet usage is spent in apps so there is an big gap which can be bridged through PWA’s. Most people are using browsers which support all the great features of a PWA, meaning that there is wide scope for audience and access.

PWA’s are also much cheaper than creating a website and a native app. Building a Progressive Web App allows a one-cost option for a product which is compatible across an enormous range of devices, rather than having various specialists develop a single app for multiple operating systems. A PWA is a cost effective solution.

If your existing website or app is full of great content, why not switch to a Progressive Web App and allow for greater levels of reach, engagement and for content to be accessed offline! You can even send new content updates to your users through push notifications, just like a text message or email.

Progressive Web Apps at Mixd

PWAs are a fantastic new solution for an enormous range of use cases. Here at Mixd we believe that they’re going to be the next big thing in the web world and we want to help bring these amazing new features to our clients. We’ve attended workshops with Google to bring our team up to speed with the latest PWA features and learn about the best design and development practices. We can’t wait to share our knowledge and lead the way with this innovative approach to the web. If you’re interested in talking to us about Progressive Web Apps, feel free to get in touch.

Further reading

Progressive Web Apps – Google (https://developers.google.com/web/progressive-web-apps/)

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