The Future of PWA for Better Mobile Experience

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Over the past years, the number of mobile device users has been significantly increasing. There are 6.378 billion users in 2021, according to Statista. Companies who want to provide excellent mobile user experience and cross-platform functionality while cutting down on development costs, should consider progressive web apps. They combine intuitive app-like experience with mobile web accessibility.

Thanks to their responsive web design and native-like experience, PWAs have gained popularity among businesses that want to go mobile to expand their digital presence. There are also native mobile apps that ensure a great mobile experience, yet they require more time and money to develop. Thus, before hiring a software development firm, businesses should shape a clear vision of why PWAs will work for them.  

What Progressive Web Apps Are

A Progressive Web App (PWA) is a web app that applies web browser APIs and functions, works across different apps, looks like a native one, and brings a similar mobile experience. In simple words, PWAs offer new opportunities to their users, including offline access, instant installation, etc. 

Many well-known brands have already applied the PWA development approach. Among the most successful apps are Pinterest, Forbes, Twitter Lite, Starbucks, etc. According to Google, companies that employed progressive web apps reached significant results. For example, by reducing the app’s size by 97%, Twitter has increased the number of pages per session by 65%, gained more Tweets by 75%, decreased a bounce rate by 20%.

Progressive Web Apps vs. Native Apps

App Discovery and Installation

Native apps are discovered and downloaded through app stores like Google App Store and Apple’s iOS App Store. People use app stores to find apps by keywords or get the app of a particular brand. Once installed, a native app appears on the main screen of the user’s device identified with an icon. Thus, businesses have to take an effort to build their apps under particular app store standards.  

As far as PWA’s distribution is concerned, it’s much easier to discover and use them. Consumers simply use them by inputting the URL into the device’s browser. Some developers offer the opportunity to add the app to the main screen and use it just like a native app. 

Cross-Platform Availability and Offline Access

Traditionally, native mobile app developers build apps tailored for iOS and Android users’ needs. They don’t have to worry about cross-platform compatibility and be focused more on the characteristics of a specific mobile device. Alternatively, PWA development doesn’t require creating several apps for different platforms. Developers build a single PWA app that is available across multiple mobile devices and browsers. 

There’s another capability that makes native apps and PWAs different, and it is an offline usage supported by PWAs. Though it’s a web-based app, it gets installed on the user’s device and works offline using cached data. 

Data Storage and Power Consumption

Native apps require much space to keep on user devices and may take up to 100 MB. That’s why users often clean their data storage to download another application. PWAs are much smaller as images and videos can be under 100kb, requiring less bandwidth. It matters to those who don’t have unlimited mobile data or a stable and fast internet connection. 

Device Features and Updates

Native applications are well-known for their ability to synchronize with other apps and smartphone features. They can gain access to a camera, GPS, a contact list, SMS, push notifications, etc. Progressive web apps can also make some connections, but there are certain restrictions. For example, push notifications are supported by android and browsers, including Opera, Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. However, they aren’t available for iOS-based devices.

Another feature that makes native and progressive web apps different is automated updates. When a new version is released PWA’s users don’t need to update their apps manually. It’s beneficial not only for users but for developers, too. App owners may receive fewer customer support requests for still using outdated app versions.  

Benefits of Progressive Web Apps

Progressive web apps provide benefits for both businesses and end-users. Here are several advantages companies should consider when launching a PWA development project.

PWA Advantages for Businesses

Time to Market

If businesses need to build a mobile application quickly or they are still startups at the initial traction, building a PWA may be the right decision. Native mobile development requires hiring two dedicated teams for creating Android and iOS apps. In addition, it needs some time for the approval of the app when submitting them to app stores. 

Development Costs

Building PWAs is cheaper than native applications. If businesses plan to target both iOS and Android users, they need to invest in two teams that will develop with two different tech stacks. This is a significant increase in costs. Moreover, the maintenance of two separate codebases adds additional costs. With PWAs, the costs are less as they are a web app that works on any mobile device, regardless of what OS it supports. 

PWA Advantages for End-Users 

End-users, on the other hand, leverage PWAs as follows:

PWA’s users can change settings and view information even when they’re offline.Improved page speed-cache asset reduces server load, which ensures better performance of a PWA.With an automatic installation, users can start using an app quicker as they don’t need to visit an app store and download it from there. Thanks to automated updates, users always have access to the latest version of an application.PWAs are lightweight and consume fewer resources, allowing users to control the battery consumption on their gadgets. Since PWAs behave like native apps, they take advantage of almost the same features and an even better mobile experience.PWAs work well on any mobile device, no matter the operating system customers use. 

PWAs are the future of software development that will combine the best features of web and mobile apps. By using PWAs to meet business goals, companies provide their customers with the advantages of mobile apps with no need to download them from the Google App Store or App Store. Well-designed PWAs can ensure better mobile experience, reducing the time and money required for their development and distribution. 

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