The Main Benefits Of Progressive Web Apps

Extremely fast, lightweight, feature-heavy, available offline – these are just some of the main reasons why businesses opt for progressive web applications. This web dev methodology has transformed the landscape of web development in recent years providing companies with huge opportunities to widen their reach and improve their processes. Looking for web development services? Ask for help our experts at Gravum.

We’ve been closely monitoring the ultra-fast evolution of PWAs since their introduction in 2015 to the time being and can attest firsthand to the benefits they bring to both users and businesses.

Progressive Web Apps: A Quick Overview

Progressive Web Apps are basically web apps that look and feel exactly like regular smartphone applications downloaded from the stores. Built with modern frameworks such as React.js, Angular, Vue.js, PWAs take advantage of the modern technologies to provide the features which some time ago were considered to be a prerogative of native apps. As such, they can be added to a smartphone’s home screen, send push-notifications, get access to the device’s hardware ( but not to its full extent), and work offline. 

A PWA has a single database for all platforms so that anyone can use them regardless of their browser choice. The web application operates as a native app on mobile devices and as a responsive site on desktops. It doesn’t require a download, so a user may have no clue that what they are using is a PWA.

We’ve gathered a list of the most prominent benefits of PWAs.

Hardware Integrations

Just like native apps, progressive applications can get access to the device’s hardware and software and use them, say, for sending geo-targeted push notifications or receiving voice messages. They utilize HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript to become as much app-like as possible.

The PWAs’ hardware integrations include:

  • GPS
  • camera
  • mic
  • clipboard
  • USB/Bluetooth
  • data storage
  • motion sensors.

But here is the thing: PWAs have restricted access to the device’s hardware. As such, progressive apps can’t use the features that are not supported by HTML5. Besides, they don’t work such specific features as Touch ID, Face ID, Siri, built-in payments, ARKit, and others.

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Installation Process

While native apps can be found and installed through Google Play or App Store, progressive ones are operating inside a web-browser and can be installed right from the site in a click. The whole process takes a few seconds without the need to visit the app stores. 

In the screenshot, you can see the Tally Weijl PWA store that has installed on the device’s home screen and now is sitting bookmarked alongside other apps. 

Besides, progressive apps are lightweight. Since they are downloaded and run on a browser, they don’t overload a device’s memory storage. The average PWA file size is about 350 KB so that the arrowy installation is guaranteed. 

By comparison, the average Android file size is 11 MB. Taking into consideration, that mobile users no longer want to overload their devices with a plethora of apps while using them once or twice a month, PWA can be a reasonable solution.

Offline Usage

One of the most remarkable benefits of PWAs is the ability to work offline when there is no Internet connection. They leverage data cached during the user’s last interactions with the web app. In other words, once you download a PWA to your device, you can consume the content within the app even when you are disconnected from the Internet. Thus, a user can, say, browse catalogs, read articles, or view images without waiting for a connection to restore. 

On the other hand, the ability to access content offline is still limited by the page’s caching system. The fact is that a PWA can serve only certain parts of the content to visitors when their smartphones are disconnected. For example, if they want to make a reservation or submit a request via a contact form, they will be unable to do so until the connection is restored.

App-like UX

Progressive Web Applications deliver a truly app-like UX to their users. They look and feel exactly like native apps but as mentioned earlier, the development cost is less. Just have a look at the screenshot of the Flipchart PWA and compare it with its native application on the right side. As you can see, their interfaces and UX are almost identical. 

Push Notifications

Push notifications are robust tools for users’ re-engagement. The small, simplified messages that alert the recipient to perform a certain action are common for e-commerce websites. After all, being able to reach your shoppers without the need for personal information results in boosted engagement, lowered cart abandonment, and increased conversion.

Web push notifications that instantly alert users on new content rely on “service workers” – scripts that a browser runs in the background – as a technical foundation for the offline functionality.

However, the push notification functionality is available for Android users only. As far as the Notifications API is not implemented by iOS Safari yet, you can’t deliver this feature to your Apple users.

Inexpensive Development

The average PWA development price is relatively low: it is between $15,000 – $50,000. If you find this price high, think about this:

  • With a native app, you have to be prepared to spend at least $100,000. The total sum will depend on the number of features your app will have. 
  • If you want total coverage, you will need to create at least two separate native apps for each store: App Store and Google Play. So the cost is doubled.

Another benefit of PWAs is that you will get a responsive website available from all browsers and any device, as a free bonus. 

Besides, with PWAs, the development process will be not only cheaper, but quicker and easier. For instance, if you already have a website on Magento 2 or other platforms, you can ask front-end developers to create a PWA storefront on top of your website. 

Final Words

With the help of a progressive app, you can simplify the sales management, upgrade the UX of your website, and reach new customers in areas of poor Internet connection. 

PWAs have already managed to establish a brand new philosophy for creating sites and if you want to stay competitive in the mobile era, you can’t afford to ignore the trend.