Have you heard of PWA (Progressive Web Apps)?

PWA’s are a great idea. They are definitely going to make some changes to the way we interact with apps on our devices.

  1. They are more reasonable in terms of time and money to develop. Basically, you’d be developing a website and app at the same time.
  2. They function like a native app, for the most part, and if made right, have awesome UX. 
  3. A lot of bigger businesses are developing PWA versions of their native apps because they are realising the benefits of doing so

There’s so much information out there, but you can read more below and decide for yourself.


Progressive Web Apps are:

  • alternative to traditional native apps,
  • are more cost and time efficient to develop
  • can also broaden a business’s target market.

What is a PWA?

Progressive Web Apps, or PWAs, are web apps that load like regular websites or web pages, but behave like native apps.

Simply, they’re a website you can download onto your phone. They’re actually a website with no search bar and access to your storage so they can save things to your phone, like photos. In some cases, it’s possible to send push notifications even when the user isn’t on the website.

There are a lot of benefits to this new technology, but first, it’s worth taking a look at the differences between PWAs and native apps.

PWA vs Native App

PWAs, in a lot of ways, behave like Native Apps. But there are some key differences.

PWAs don’t require an app store, which gives more freedom concerning creating different types of apps. Also, PWAs are progressive, meaning that they work for every user, regardless of their browser choice or device and fit desktop, mobile and tablet screens.

They’re connectivity independent, so they can work offline or on low-quality networks and are very easy to install. The PWA icon will be displayed on the user’s home screen without having to deal with app stores.

It’s also important to note that writing a website is much quicker, and therefore more cost-effective — building a PWA is like making a website and app at the same time! The developers can create one version of the app that’ll display the same way, and seamlessly, on all devices

Finally, PWAs are far more lightweight, meaning that they take up less space on your user’s devices, but also allow your users to consume less data.

PWAs are still a new technology, and that means they aren’t perfect. Not just because anyone can use them, because older browsers might not support them. Also, a lot of people might not know how they work and won’t realise they could install the website like an app. It may also be said that they’re harder to find because they aren’t readily available in app stores yet. There are still some fun functions that can’t be used with PWAs, like fingerprint scanning, but it’s only a matter of time before PWAs start to function the same, if not better than native apps.

Why Build a PWA?

Most companies that need to target a broader audience on their mobile devices are creating PWAs. Mobile websites are quick and easy to get, but the user experience isn’t great. Native apps have excellent user experience, but they are limited to specific devices and must be downloaded from an app store. This means that businesses lose the benefit of their users’ impulse behaviour. PWAs pre-cache, which means that they download the most recent version of the site when they connect to the internet.

Compared to native apps, PWAs are generally just more efficient and work on demand — they’re always accessible. It’s also easy to re-engage users through features like push notifications.

PWAs are app-like, and use app-style navigation and interactions, so users won’t feel that they have the same problems when trying to navigate tricky websites on their mobile devices. The user also consumes less data and doesn’t have to sacrifice any of conveniences they would have using a native app.

Many businesses are now moving towards creating PWAs to save on costs, but also because they want to reach a wider audience. As a result of native apps being developed specifically for iOS or Android, and the fact that they often consume a large amount of data limits businesses to a smaller audience of users. Some of the more notable PWA projects and their successes are Twitter, StarBucks, Trivago and Forbes.

PWAs Are Awesome!

For business owners, developing a PWA rather than a native app, or alongside an existing native app, is absolutely worthwhile. It means a business can save more time and more money. On average, companies that have built PWAs managed to do so in roughly 3 months. Because of the overall efficiency in developing PWAs, developers have been sharing their knowledge about how to make an app a PWA.

Depending on the project, having a PWA developed can be a smarter move, especially if the business goal is to broaden your market reach, you’re working with a smaller budget or just want to build something using the latest technology!

Have an idea – drop us a line idea@automationsquared.com

 

This Valentine, Cupid went mobile!

What do Valentine’s Day and the December Holidays have in common? If you look past gifts, romance and loved ones the answer may surprise you: mobile shopping

Having spent a great deal of time over the last two months dissecting the influence of the empowered consumer. Throughout that time, the conversation has focused primarily on the emergence of the mobile shopper.

Now just more than six weeks into the new year, we are thrilled to report that mobile shopping remains a staple of the retail landscape whether through an iPhone, iPad or an Android device. Specifically in an analysis of online shopping the week leading up to Valentine’s Day, the IBM online Benchmark study found that 14.5 percent of all online sessions on a retailer’s site were initiated from a mobile device. As for sales, 10.1 percent of all online sales for the week before the Valentine’s Day holiday came through a mobile device.

Sound familiar? Well it should. These figures for both traffic and sales are almost identical to what we saw over the recent Christmas holiday where traffic and sales were 14.6 percent and 11 percent respectively. What this tells us is that the mobile shopping habits witnessed over the November and December holidays are not fleeting. They’re actually quite the opposite. A permanent change is in affect with the empowered consumer turning to mobile devices not just for blockbuster shopping days but for all holidays and shopping occasions in between.

For Valentine’s Day, the influence of m-Commerce was perhaps most prevalent in several key verticals where mobile sales from mobile devices were up dramatically from last year:

  • Jewelry and Intimate Apparel: A record number of consumers made impulse buys via their mobile devices with mobile sales of jewelry and intimate apparel growing to 28.8 percent and 17.7 percent respectively.
  • Health and Beauty: Shoppers continued to demonstrate a desire to pamper their loved ones with mobile sales of health and beauty items (lotions, fragrances and more) growing to 15.1 percent, an increase from less than 4 percent in 2011.

Valentine’s shoppers also showed a similar pattern when it came to device preferences:

  • Apple’s iPhone and iPad ranked one and two for mobile device retail traffic (5.5 percent and 4.9 percent respectively). Android was third at 4.4 percent. Collectively iPhone and iPad accounted for 10.4 percent of mobile device retail traffic so far this month.

It’s exciting to see the promise of mobile remains strong and I cannot wait to see how it continues to influence both shoppers and retailers as we move forward.  As for now it’s safe to say that Valentine’s Day shopping has evolved from the standard box of chocolates.