PWA: Pros and Cons

Technology is improving every time, and it's not a secret that changes are inevitable, even if they come gradually. The number of smartphone users is growing every day; people use mobile gadgets for work, social networking, shopping, or room booking. A bunch of companies uses native apps, wondering why they don't have the desired effect. To satisfy end users now, you should keep an eye on continually changing trends to see how you will ease technologies and upgrade them.
PWA: Pros and Cons
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IntexSoft

Technology is improving every time, and it's not a secret that changes are inevitable, even if they come gradually. The number of smartphone users is growing every day; people use mobile gadgets for work, social networking, shopping, or room booking. A bunch of companies uses native apps, wondering why they don't have the desired effect. To satisfy end users now, you should keep an eye on continually changing trends to see how you will ease technologies and upgrade them.

So, modifications affected internet technologies too. Impossible things used to be a reality today, like offline mode or notifications with fresh news from your favorite site. Constant changes and innovations have given rise to the development and promotion of progressive web apps to the masses. The main issue arises: are web-based techs suitable for a modern user? No less essential questions e-commerce entrepreneurs and developers are asking right now. But they can't get a definite answer yet.

About progressive web app

The first technology was created by Apple in 2007 and was not very successful due to poor user-friendliness. The evolution of web-based technology stopped. Only in 2015, Chrome, Service Worker, and Web App Manifest promotion have influenced the further expansion of web apps.

The concept of PWA has been around for a long time, since 2018, but no one fully understood what this technology was for. Even with significant changes in web technologies since then.

To go into detail, PWA is a group of applications that use the web technology stack to visually and functionally transform the site into an app. It pursues main goals such as increasing users' conversion, security, simplicity, and user-friendliness on mobile gadgets. It should be noted that there is no unified definition for PWA applications. Externally and internally, they resemble native apps, but behind this, there is something else. Because of their progressive nature, PWAs work wherever there is a web, adapting even to older browsers. For example, an application with limited functionality can run on any gadget without repeatedly loading on each device. Cross-platform technologies are now more relevant than ever, and developers are increasingly choosing them. Convenience, excellent performance, reliability, inexpensive and swift development have considerable value for both entrepreneurs and developers. They should take note of progressive web app techs. Demand drives supply, that's it. The most common examples are Twitter, Alibaba, Forbes, MakeMyTrip, Uber, Starbucks, Aviasales, Tinder, Lancôme.

Target audience

The number of mobile Internet users is continuously growing, and they all want convenience and ease of use. Absolutely everyone uses smartphones, with no regard to gender, race, age, or nationality. Few people want to fill their phone memory with many applications, but almost everyone visits sites. People involved in the creation, development, support, and everyone interested in web apps can improve the product or usability of resources in principle. Modern technologies are clear business benefits, so it's worth thinking about using them now.

Functioning principle

The working principle is straightforward, as it is very similar to an original app. Using a progressive web app is easier cause you do not need to download it from the app store and wait for the installation. It also does not take up memory on your device.

All you have to do is get the link through any application. After the web page is downloaded, the user receives a complete application. If necessary, the end-user can add an application to the home screen with the browser function «add to the home screen».

App uses certain technologies for its work, such as:

  • Service Worker — JS file that connects to the HTML code of the page; all requests go through it. It's like a connecting point between frontend and backend.
  • HTTPS — web app resources transfer data via HTTPS protocol for protection.
  • Web App manifest — this feature determines the appearance of the application. It also makes the app easy to run.
  • Push Notifications — if you agree to be notified, push notifications will keep you informed of new info.

Advantages of PWA

Regarding the main benefits, we cannot but mention the access to the operating system and client's device features plus no restrictions on the programming languages used. It's possible to install the app only if it meets specific criteria, and the user has demonstrated interest in revisiting the site. It's especially useful for those who are not sure of the regular use of the app. But those are not the only pros of working with progressive apps. As technology is continually evolving, there is a big list of advantages:

Security

HTTPS protects data from intercepting and spoofing. You don't have to worry about information security.

Fast performance

PWA boot up and work faster, even with a poor internet connection. So you do not need to refresh the page every time. Few people wait 10-20 seconds for the page to open.

Engaging

The application should be comfortable, pleasant, and intuitive to use, so the end-users wanted to visit it more often. Such websites use push notifications, keeping in touch with the user, and providing them with data.

Linkable

Most native applications don't have links to their pages, so you can't share them with others. Meanwhile, in PWA, you can just copy the URL and share it with anyone!

Progressive

Constant updating and improving make applications trendy, and indispensable for users, enable them to keep up-to-date.

Cross-platform

Cross-platform apps are more valuable now. And here, progressive web apps have a huge benefit — it fits both iOS and Android OS.

App-like

Modern web apps are similar in functionality and appearance to native mobile applications, which makes them user-friendly. With app-style navigation and interactions, you won't notice the difference.

Cheap

Modern techs like PWA are more affordable to develop and integrate than native mobile apps. They don't need specific technologies, just pure javascript, HTML, and CSS.

Responsive

Progressive web app fits all devices like smartphones, tablets, and desktop.

SEO-friendly

Quick downloading plays a large role in the website's position in Google's mobile search engine.

PWA is indexed by Google and other search engines, even though working very similar to a native application. It's an absolute plus for SEO.

Disadvantages of PWA

On our part, it would be biased to tell only about PWA's pros - nothing is perfect. However, the existing shortcomings are not so significant.

iOS features are limited

Only Android users can get push notifications while iOS users deprived of such an opportunity. It is also worth mentioning that Safari - the most popular browser for iOS - does not support PWA at all.

App store traffic

Some users are looking for an app in the Google Play Store or iOS App Store. So if you run PWA, make sure your audience knows about it - place the info with the link in your social accounts and websites.

Progressive Web App examples

With PWA, Forbes managed to get 43 % increase in sessions per user, 100% engagement growth, and advertising viewability increased by 20 %.



Starbucks has developed a PWA to collect orders. Orders via mobile internet have doubled, progressive web app itself has lost 99.84% of its weight and takes up almost no space on the phone.

AliExpress average session time increased by 74%, and the conversion of new users to customers increased by 104% in all browsers. Now the user, on average, opens twice as many pages on the site.

With the introduction of progressive web app and push notifications, the return rate to Lancôme abandoned baskets increased by 8% and the bounce rate dropped by 15%. The number of site visits increased by 17%. Bounce rates among iPhone users dropped 10%, and the duration of stay increased by 53%.

The number of involved users at Pinterest grew on 60%, and Forbes got 12% new reviewers. Twitter increased the number of pages viewed per session by 65%.

Conclusion

Progressive web apps are operated everywhere and assisted by web browsers, independent of shops; their presence is an enormous bonus for the website. The novelty of this technology is both an advantage and a disadvantage. The use of these technologies has only recently begun, but their benefits are already evident. Fast, mobile-friendly, SEO-indexed, installable - everything is easier and more convenient. Never be afraid to try something new.


The authors

Anrej Suschevich

Andrej Suschevich
Team Leader


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