PWA – Progressive Web App is a solution that by definition allows you to combine the advantages of a website and a dedicated mobile application. The main idea behind it was to enable the creation of an application that would retain all benefits of mobile applications without requiring individual development for various platforms. PWAs also give a serious advantage to end users – there is no need to install a dedicated application.
After the initial ‘delight’ associated with the creation of dedicated applications, it turned out that the market was oversaturated. The main consequence was that users were not willing to install new applications on their mobile devices. The solution must, therefore, be applications available without installation and at the same time offering maximum functionality.
An important factor that eliminated native apps as a good solution is a high cost associated with their development and maintenance. The need to create a dedicated application for each platform and to maintain different versions for individual platforms is very troublesome. At the same time, the problem here is also the limited willingness of users to update the application, which makes it difficult to develop and release changes.
The advantages of PWAs over Native Apps
There is no doubt, therefore, that Progressive Web Apps have many advantages over native apps. These include, for example:
Independence from the browser and operating system
By definition, PWAs work on basic operating systems and there is no need to adjust them to browsers. The most popular browsers which support PWAs: Chrome, Opera and Edge.
Creating and preparing native apps for different devices and resolutions was much more problematic than when using PWAs. Using current technology, creating fully responsive pages is much easier in the context of various devices.
Operational efficiency and offline work
An important assumption of each PWA is fast action. According to the current user experience standards, every moment when nothing is happening in the application for more than 2 seconds is a signal for the user that something is wrong. Therefore, it is expected that the application runs quickly and a longer reload time will be signaled by the loader’s screen. By definition, it is also required that at least part of the application be run offline.
Thanks to using the mechanisms available in the browser and the https protocol, the developer has much less security concerns in the case of PWAs than in the case of native apps. Creating every application from a scratch requires rethinking and building security from the beginning – this is not necessary for solutions in the browser.
The modern Internet means a growing role of notifications in the lives of users. Although this may also change in the future because the number of notifications is already bothersome for some – at this moment an important advantage of PWAs is an easy display of notifications for users.
Reduction of implementation costs
PWAs are simply cheaper to implement than native apps. There is no need to create them on different platforms; it is much easier to upgrade the previous version and also to prepare responsiveness. All this contributes to the fact that development is easier and time to market is shorter.
No need for installation and updates
This is one of the things that is most easily observed by the end user. In the case of PWAs, there is no need to install a dedicated application. The need to install many applications has become tiring for users who are eager to use the service simply through a browser. Thanks to this, we encourage users to register and use our service.
The Native Apps advantage over PWAs
Unfortunately, PWAs does not mean only advantages. Still, some service providers decide to use native apps and you cannot always hide this approach. In many cases, dedicated applications will be a better choice.
It is sometimes said that universality is always bad. Unfortunately, there is some truth in this. PWAs, which work for any platform or browser, are not properly optimized, in practice, for any particular platform. Using native apps, you can take advantage of the strenghts of a particular platform. As a result, it is much easier to achieve the right performance and maximum efficiency. Ultimately, PWAs have simply limited performance capabilities, which makes them harder to implement applications that require high computing power.
Introducing PWAs also means reducing the entry threshold for competition. At the moment we are able to encourage users to install our application, there is a chance that they will use our services. The moment we use PWAs, it is much easier for them to simply go to another website and take advantage of the competition’s offer. Mobile applications are also perfectly suited to the internet of things connection or client targeting. Applications collect a lot of additional data from the user’s device that can be perfectly used. In a sense, cookies play a similar role in PWAs.
A success story with the implementation of PWAs
Many large and well-known companies develop PWAs instead of native apps or in parallel with them. The best-known success stories include Aliexpress, OLX or Twitter.In all of these organizations, the implementation of PWA was a great success. An increase in the number of users, an increase in new registrations, an increase in time spent on the website or just a conversion rate was observed. The more people talk to someone, the more pages are visited per session. According to the example of Aliexpress, which shows that a 74% increase in time spent per session, simultaneously translated in twice as many pages visited. On the other hand, Twitter has seen an increase in the number of tweets sent by over 70% and a 60% increase in page display during a session. Therefore, there is no doubt that various types of PWA have proved to be a great success for various organizations, and the implementation of this type of application will become an increasingly common practice for service providers.
There is no doubt that the popularity of PWA is increasing and there are no signs that it will change in the near future. Excellent results of implementations in many companies cause that other companies are increasingly opting for such a solution. At the same time, more and more emphasis on user experience means that we want to encourage users with simplicity – so move away from downloading and installing applications. Despite the small disadvantages of PWA, there is no doubt that this technology is in full bloom and its popularity is likely to continue to grow in the next years.