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Progressive Web Apps Are here. Now what?

Jul 25 · 5 minutes read

When native apps first came to the market, people couldn’t get enough of them. A 2017 trend shows that nowadays people are turning away from mobile native apps. Studies made by comScore (via TechCrunch) show that the majority of consumers download zero apps per month.
 
A majority of users (51%) still don’t download any apps in a month, says comScore.

Of those who download one or more apps on average in a month (49%), 13 percent download just one app, 11 percent download 2 apps, 8 percent download 3 apps, 5 percent download 4 apps, 7 percent download 5 to 7 apps, and 5 percent download 8 or more. comScore via TechCrunch

So if mobile apps are less and less downloaded by users, where does this leave us?

Thinking of the web, you can imagine it as a powerful equalizer. The more it can do, the better. Progressive Web Apps were built with this exact picture in mind.

PWAs are the mobile-friendly websites that can do almost everything native apps can do.

Why turn to PWAs?

It’s no secret that mobile apps can take up a lot of storage space on your phone. Most of our phones are home to over 35 apps downloaded from the App Store or Play Store, and most probably our phones are bursting at the seams with apps. The thing that Progressive Web Apps brings to the table is that they take up far less space, which means they can save significant amounts of space.

With PWAs, our mobile browser becomes the epicenter of everything we do on our mobile device. PWAs will work when there is no internet connection, they are installable and accessible from the home screen without the hassle of a download.

What’s more, the general process of installing a Progressive Web App is way simpler than the one of installing a Native Mobile App. Let’s look at how Twitter Lite works like.

1. User Visits Site

2. The user selects the “Add Page Shortcut” option and the shortcut will land on his home screen.

3.  User goes to the home screen and opens the site.

Due to service workers, PWAs load instantly, even if there is just little data. Even more, the app stays up to date all the times with the help of precaching.

It only gets better

The web reaches three times as many people as mobile apps. However, people use mobile apps on their devices far more than they use mobile browsers. So on mobile, apps rule. The question is, why? It’s pretty simple if you think about the user experience in a native app compared to the web on mobile. Apps are fast and robust. You have access to a large range of features and notifications that create a seamless experience for the end user. Taking this into consideration, it is pretty clear that if you want to reach as many people as possible, besides a well designed, mobile-ready website you’ll need a native app. This means a lot of work, and wouldn’t it be easier if you could just build one website that does everything really well?

Another win for the Progressive Web Apps is that they are independent of stores such as Google Play Store and Apple Store. When is coming the web apps, whether you speak of traditional web apps or progressive ones, there's no store involved.

Progressive Web Apps can use different types of devices like camera, data storage GPS, motion sensors and face detection. Everything you need to create top-notch experiences for your customers, in one single web app.

A Mobile First Approach

A good Progressive Web App can, with no doubt, replace a company’s mobile site, its native app and it’s a great mobile-first approach to connecting with your customers. A large number of brands are moving from native apps to PWAs and it’s easy to see why. Let's take a look at Twitter Lite.

Twitter Lite PWA: increased engagement and reduced data usage

According to developers.google, Twitter developed Twitter Lite to deliver a more robust experience, with explicit goals for instant loading, user engagement, and lower data consumption.

The numbers?

  • 65% increase in pages per session
  • 75% increase in Tweets sent
  • 20% decrease in bounce rate

This also means that if you don’t have a mobile presence yet, you can take your mind off building a native mobile application and start building a Progressive Web App.

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