What most people don’t realize is the presence of a third option: progressive web apps. Progressive Web Apps (PWA) offer the best of both worlds. They are developed using web-friendly frameworks and programming languages but are more robust than traditional websites.
Is PWA the right solution for you? Before you make that decision, we are going to take a closer look at some of the major benefits offered by this approach.
Support for App-Like Functions
One of the reasons why these are gaining traction is support for certain features that used to be available exclusively to native apps. They function the way native mobile apps function. Users will experience a similar – if not the same –User Interface (UI) as mobile apps when using PWA.
Everything from the menu drawer to utilising built-in device features like GPS and camera can be done easily. The PWA frameworks available today are designed from the ground up to make these implementations possible.
Despite offering native app-like features and User Experience (UX) PWA's don't need to be installed. Users can add them to their home screen using the native feature of the operating system, but there is no need to actually download and install the apps.
The lack of app installation is also good for users who pay closer attention to the safety of their personal information and their privacy. Despite having features like push notifications, PWAs aren't designed to stay on users’ devices.
One of the factors that spark the native vs. mobile web debate is performance. Even optimised responsive websites are still noticeably slower than native mobile apps. Performance, however, is one of the benefits offered.
Progressive Web Apps are usually developed for maximum UX, with performance being one of the key components of good UX. Text, assets, and other parts of the PWA are cached in the device itself for improved performance.
Speaking about caching, they are designed to work regardless of whether the device is connected to the internet. Yes, progressive web apps – just like most native mobile apps – are designed to work when the device is offline.
Caching isn’t the only way they can remain functional when offline. The framework itself is designed to prioritize offline contents when no internet connectivity is detected, giving users a much better experience in general.
They are even used to get around limited internet connectivity in certain regions. Rather than requiring users to download a full app or wait for contents to load, they take advantage of background loading and other native features to deliver the best UX.
That leads us to the next benefit: marketing boost. When users can still see your brand and find the progressive web app useful when offline, they tend to engage with your brand more. After all, they will still see value in your progressive web app regardless.
These benefits are too good to miss, hence their current popularity. If you are looking for a way to deliver value to your users in a pleasant way without investing in native mobile apps, going down the progressive web app route is the way to go.