We've gone through what PWAs are, we've discussed the alternatives, and now it's time to review why choosing a Progressive Web Application is the right platform for your next project, and why it is the best decision you can make for the future of your business.
Why are progressive web apps so exciting?
There are lots of reasons why this is new technology is a huge step forward in the growth of technology. Below we have highlighted a few ways this technology is a game changer:
Users can find and install your application right from the web
When someone hears about a new brand or product, what do they do? They search for it in a search engine to learn more about it. Currently, companies have to have a strong web presence to answer user’s questions, and to convert them into believers. They then need users to overcome the hurdle of finding and installing their application in the app store. But with Progressive Web Apps, it is all one experience. Once the user finds your website, they can easily install it onto their mobile device to be accessed later at their convenience.
Great for SEO
Your application content will be indexable on the web, which is great for SEO! Any content on a native application is removed from the internet, and thus has no way for robots to crawl the data. A PWA will not only provide a great experience for your users, but it will also improve your search ranking!
One of the biggest benefits of native applications is the potential for instant communication with the user. Users can be alerted via Push Notifications when there is an update to their account, or when new content is available. This is a huge benefit, because unlike email marketing, users cannot ignore the messages. They must physically dismiss them, which means that the user always sees the message.
PWAs will work offline. By leveraging Service Workers, which is a type of Web Worker, PWAs can determine the internet connectivity and load the application from local cache instead of from the internet when online access is not available.
Improved branding and user experience
PWAs offer the benefit of improved branding and user experience. No longer are applications forced to look and work a certain way. This not only offers the ability to break outside the box, but it also means a consistent interface for your application no matter what device it is viewed on. Whether on an iPhone, or on a TV, your application will have a consistent look and feel for the user.
Save on cost
One of the most enticing benefits to businesses is the cost savings of producing a PWA. No longer does a company need to empty their bank accounts to build a website, an iPhone app, and an Android app. Now you can simply build one PWA to rule them all!
At their core, web apps are still tied to URLs. This is great, because it allows users to easily share content across their different networks. There is nothing more frustrating than getting a link, and having your native application not be able to open it properly.
What are the downfalls?
At the time of the writing of this, PWAs are still a budding technology, and there are still some downfalls:
Unfortunately, Safari does not currently acknowledge the existence of Progressive Web Apps. Thankfully Apple finally announced that has stated that this is a top priority for them, because just like the other internet overlords, they see the value and necessity of developing a way for applications to work across all devices. But for now, depending on your business, you may want to keep this in mind depending on how many of your clients are safari users, until it fully supports PWA technology.
While performance is a huge focus of PWAs, it is still a battle that each business has to overcome with their own build. Native apps still perform better as a whole- but perhaps not for long, as there are lots of new frameworks (as well as better browser technology) coming out specifically geared toward offering lightning fast response for mobile devices, such as Preact, Vue.js, and Polymer.
Not ALL native device functionality is supported
Depending upon the exact needs of your application, a PWA might not be a suitable solution for you. But 90% of the apps in the app store could be built with a PWA, so it is definitely worth investigating. This page will show the native device functionality currently available to the browser. Most, but not all, functionality is available to a Progressive Web App.
Add to homescreen functionality is still evolving
The ability to add a web app to your device’s home screen is still an evolving process. The user will be prompted to install the app via a popup banner if your web application meets the Progressive Web App criteria. Browser manufacturers are still adjusting this criteria as well as the timing for displaying the install banner. Users can also manually add your application to their mobile device via the browser menu, but that is less than ideal. Hopefully this process continues to evolve so that users have a clear, consistent way to install web apps to their devices.
This is an exciting time for users, devices, and the web. Technology is breaking down even more barriers and the ability to connect, share, and interact is becoming easier. Most importantly, businesses can finally focus on building one great experience, and optimizing it for different devices, rather than having to “choose an audience” or empty their bank accounts in order to reach the masses.
At Tragic Media, we strive to stay on the cutting edge of technology breakthroughs, and as a custom development shop, to find and become experts in solutions that will best serve our clients. We want to make sure that everyone who comes to us needing help with their website or application, is given the best array of options to choose from- and will get the best possible product from our expert team. We pride ourselves not only on delivering great, on-time, and on-budget products, but also on being industry thought leaders- putting an emphasis on continuing to learn and expand as the industry does.