PWA – what should you know about it?

a person is working on a pwa application

What can you do to enable your customers to freely browse your webpage both: on desktop and mobile devices? Creating a dedicated app for smartphones or tablets requires additional adjustments for a specific operating system, which is not desired. However, this can be solved by use of PWA – Progressive Web Apps. But what is PWA and how can it solve your problem? Check for yourself!

What is PWA?

It is a typical webpage, however, thanks to the modern mobile systems’ possibilities it can have characteristics similar to the ones shared by application dedicated for mobile devices. What is special about the PWA-based websites is that they guarantee consistent styling of webpages on all devices. This improves one of the most crucial rules in UX design – consistent brand style which makes using the web app easier for the customer. Therefore it increases one of the factors of a properly designed web solution – the user friendliness.

PWA combines the best characteristics of desktop and mobile apps in one solution that is crucial for a successful e-Commerce.

PWA – how does it work?

Firstly, you must know that with the PWA technology your website will be able to work online and offline. Once the user has accessed PWA-based page, its content is going to be saved on the user’s device cache storage. Therefore, on the next user visit, they will not be required to load the data again. A part or even a whole page is going to open with no Internet connection.

To increase user friendliness and comfortable UX the PWA Web App can be added to the mobile devices menu or as an icon to the main screen. When it comes to desktop users, it can be installed as a regular app. In this version it will keep all its functions. The PWA offers customers freedom of choice for their preferred shopping path.

The PWA functions

To identify a website or an app as PWA-based it must have certain functions that makes up the whole solution. These include: 

  • responsiveness, which stands for quick and free navigation between the website’s subpages,
  • site flexibility, linked strongly to its responsiveness, which is automatic resolution adjustment of websites to the user’s screen,
  • on-site data flow security guaranteed by the HTTPS protocol,
  • high loading speed and functioning of website guaranteed even with low quality Internet connection,
  • ability of adding the page as a shortcut to the main screen of a chosen device, without the need of downloading an app from Google or Apple Store,
  • ability of sending push notifications, creating a marketing channel for vendors,
  • friendly URL address resulting in increased transparency of the site’s content
  • intuitive navigation similar to solution typical for native application,
  • provides automatic updates,

 

Summing up: PWA is a reliable technology that perfectly match to the various condition in which it has to function. 

Benefits of Progressive Web Apps implementation

The benefits coming from implementation of PWA are significant for both parties: the website owner and the customer. From the user’s viewpoint the most benefiting factors are issues linked with the website use on multiple devices. On the other hand, the e-owner can expect getting more potential customers to browse their website, which increases conversion rate. Additionally, the PWA generates lower costs of development than dedicated apps. They are also easier to maintain, as they require one implementation project, rather than a couple, as is the case for the dedicated applications’ development.

Pros of Progressive Web Applications

The advantages of PWA-based solutions can be divided into three categories, as they are crucial for: the professionals, responsible for creation of the whole project; business owners, for whom the project is carried out; and the customer, who will be using the given project. 

Pros of PWA when you are a developer:

  • shared base code, enabling PWA App to work on all kinds of devices and operating systems (Android and iOS),
  • Web App Manifest, which is responsible for gathering all metadata concerning the developed progressive app. This makes it easier for the developers to create an optimal UX solutions that are going to be put in use for the customers,
  • to update the PWA it’s only necessary to publish the newer version onto the servers,

 

Pros of PWA for businessmen:

  • you don’t have to hire extra developers to create dedicated app version for each OS,
  • higher conversion rate backed by quicker loading time and more reliable website functioning,
  • higher user engagement,
  • more cost-effective and simpler endearing of new users than other technologies,
  • you don’t have to have different strategies for desktop and mobile users. The PWA meets the requirements of the both kinds,
  • bigger advantage over competing companies with technologies dedicated to certain devices and operating systems,
  • simple and quick implementation process of PWA into the already existing e-Commerce platform,
  • ability to run a marketing campaign with built-in push-up notifications sent to the customer’s contact phones,

 

Pros of PWA for the customers:

  • customers don’t have to worry about the quality of the Internet connection; they can use the PWA app in offline mode,
  • they don’t have to look for for the app or download it from Google Play or Apple Store, 
  • the customers are not forced to install the app on their desktop or mobile device,
  • they don’t get confused by the app style and functioning, because they are consistent on all devices, thanks to the PWA,
  • fast and smooth operation of the website, providing more comfortable buying experience, 
  • in case of the interrupted Internet connection or the app accidentally turning off, the customers do not have to redo the same steps (filling out forms, adding products to the cart, etc.)

 

Discover what other problems the PWA solves for you!

Cons

As all technologies the PWA Web App have some disadvantages as well. Some of them include:

  • the PWA applications cannot utilize the mobile phones’ built-in functions: cameras, GPS localization or bluetooth, 
  • the technology is not the most optimized for the more complex and advanced apps, such as, games,
  • when it comes to Apple devices, Progressive Web Applications work on iOS 11.3 and newer version only,

 

Although, these are not very significant disadvantages, they may be an obstacle in a project, which considers the PWA to be the best solution. Therefore, it is important to think through your options and decide what is the factors that you care about the most. 

PWA and responsive website

The main task of responsive web design (RWD) is to fit the web appearance to the device’s screen size. The size of the webpage and its content (text, pictures and all the parameters) have to adjust to the user’s screen size and ease the use of the solution. RWD also focuses on keeping the basic functions of a webpage while it scales to mobile devices and desktops. 

Progressive Web App is based on very similar concepts, also utilizing responsiveness in the web design. However, there is a difference between RWD and PWA. This difference is mainly about the additional functions which comes with the Progressive Web Apps solution. It could be said that the PWA is somewhat an enhanced version of RWD. The PWA additionally guarantees the aforementioned function of the offline mode. It also excels at utilizing the web browser full potential, simultaneously imitating the style and functioning of the mobile app. Last, but not least it better engages the user, by focusing on interactivity and intuitive interface. 

PWA and native mobile app

Firstly, the main difference between a native mobile app and the progressive app is that, the prior is fully functional standalone application produced only for a mobile device. On the other hand, PWA is a website, which works and looks like mobile app. 

happy business owner uses PWA on laptop and mobile

The second big difference lies in the operating systems. The native app are designed for a one specific OS (iOS or Android). Contrary to the PWA use web browsers which are present in all the devices no matter, their operating systems. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about OS when designing with PWA. Another positive factors designing with Progressive Web Applications is the fact that we don’t have to work on different UX projects. When it comes to the native applications the user experience can differ due to special needs of a given operating systems. 

The third significant difference between these two, is that, even though PWA and native apps can work in the offline mode, they do it differently. The prior always keeps all of the characteristics typical for websites and the progressive app works just as it was design to. What’s more, the customer can’t download the app straight out from the main webpage. They have to look for it in the app store.

On the other hand, the native apps can utilize additional functions of mobile phones. It is especially advantageous when working on a more complex application, for example, a game using gyroscope or camera. PWA cannot offer this kind of solutions.

When it comes to similarities between these technologies, it’s worth to mention their responsiveness and users’ engagement possibilities. These are assured by the interactiveness, push-up notifications and user localizing that are present in PWA and the native apps.

Where is PWA used?

As a lawyer would say, “It all depends”. Various projects and ideas will require different technologies, the same goes for the use of PWA. So far, the Progressive Web Apps solutions has been successfully implemented in the service industry and in e-Commerce.

The use of PWA in online trade is bringing many profits, especially in the B2C sector. It is most efficient in places that require reliable access to information, such as, news portals or banks. The PWA implementation can also bring effects to venues like travel agencies. The customers will have constant access to the offers (also when without the Internet connection). This way, you will be able to send them the newest promotions and bargains. 

Are you still wondering if PWA is good for your business? Contact us and let us help you in finding out!

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Andrzej Szylar

Andrzej Szylar

Chief Executive Officer

Magdalena Paczynska

Magdalena Paczyńska

HR Manager

Angelika Siczek

Angelika Siczek

PR & Marketing Specialist