Progressive web apps combine the best of web and mobile apps. Think of these apps as websites that are built using the web technology, but act and feel like an app. Progressive web apps take advantage of the much larger web ecosystem, plug-ins and community and the relative ease of deploying and maintaining a website as compared to a native application in app stores. They can be built in lesser time and an API need not be maintained too.
Why Progressive Web Apps?
On an average, an app loses 20% of its users for every step between the user’s first contact, until they use the app. The user finds the app in the app store, downloads it, installs it and then finally opens it. With a progressive web app, users can directly start using the app, eliminating a lot of unnecessary steps in the process like downloading and installing. When user returns to the app, they are offered an option to download and install and upgrade for a full screen experience.
Characteristics of a progressive web app
Progressive: A progressive web app must work on any device and it must enhance progressively. It should also be able to take advantage of the features on the user’s device and browser.
Discoverable: A progressive web app is essentially a website and hence must be discoverable by all the major search engines. This is where the native apps lag behind and web apps win!
Linkability: A well-designed website should use the URL to indicate the current state of the application. This enables the web app to retain or reload its state when the user bookmarks or shares the apps URL.
Responsive: A progressive web apps UI must be responsive and should render well on all screen sizes.
App-Like: A progressive web app should look like a native app and must be built on the application shell model, with minimal page refreshes.
Connectivity independent: It should be able to work in areas of low connectivity or even offline
Re-engageable: Many mobile app users are more likely to reuse their apps and progressive web apps and built to achieve these goals.
Installable: The app can be installed on the device’s home screen so that it is readily available for the user.
Fresh: When new content is published, it is instantly made available through the app to the users (when connected to the internet).
Safe: Progressive web apps offer a more intimate user experience as network requests can be intercepted through service workers, it is imperative that the app be hosted on an HTTPS to prevent man in the middle attacks.
Progressive web apps could be the next big thing for the mobile web! They are more flexible, faster and offer a better user experience from beginning to end!