Over the past decade, we’ve all become very aware of the need for businesses to be able to target customers on their mobile devices, with the vast majority of online activity being carried out through phones.

A business that wants to appeal to mobile-based customers has three options to engage with it’s target audiences:  build a responsive website, develop a native app or create a progressive web app (PWA).

With so many options out there, it can be difficult to understand what’s best for your business – and Awesome Creative can help you do this.

A new era of web design

At Awesome Creative, we build all our web experiences so they work seamlessly and consistently across all devices and where budgets and scope allow: as a progressive web app. Our platform decision is based on the best solution for our client’s businesses and the most effective and future-proof use of their budgets. Many design agencies will stick to their platform or code base of choice and only offer that as your “best solution”.

So what exactly is a progressive web app? How does is it different? And what are the advantages?

So, just what is

a progressive web app?

A progressive web application is a type of application software delivered through the web, built using common web technologies including HTML, CSS and JavaScript. It’s intended to work on any platform that uses a standards-compliant browser.
The beauty of a PWA lies in its ability to take advantage of the latest technologies to combine the best of web and mobile apps. In essence, it’s a website; but it acts and feels like an app and allows users to install it to their home screen, receive push notifications and even work offline.

How does it differ from

a native app

The key difference is that there is no need to download it from an app store and it runs self-contained, directly in a web browser. This brings several advantages, including:

  • It loads instantly – even in areas of low connectivity
  • It stays up to date at all times – eliminating the need to access a website and change content
  • It provides an all-round better user experience.

And this last point is the key. Studies show that on average, an app loses 20% of its users for each step between the first contact and first use. It’s easy to see why – the user has to put a considerable amount of effort in – from finding it in the app store, downloading it, installing it and then opening it. If just one of these steps fails, the user is gone.

Why not a

traditional website?

There is still a large market for traditional websites for businesses with smaller site requirements and smaller budgets. At Awesome Creative, we can still design equally engaging user experiences for this market. However, where a client is looking for added features and flexibility (push notifications, app store access and offline use) and they require more of a platform than a simple information portal, we’d then recommend that a progressive web app would be more beneficial.

The best of

both worlds.

Bridging both of the traditional options sits the progressive web app, combining the best elements of mobile sites and native apps – while minimising their disadvantages.

When a user finds a progressive web app, it’s instant – no downloading and installing required – with the option to upgrade to a full screen experience. It works in all browsers and is enhanced and updates with each browser update.

Some great examples of this include: Spotify, Uber and Starbucks.

The results? Improved user retention, the reduction in the maintenance required in a website or a native app and an all-round better user experience.

In conclusion

Choosing a progressive web app will create an all-round better mobile experience. It will improve your online presence by providing the tools and channels to better engage your audiences – and at Awesome Creative, that is at the very heart of everything we do.

There are several key components which make up a progressive web app, including:

PROGRESS

By it’s very nature, a progressive web app must work on any device and enhance progressively, and take full advantage of any features available on the user’s device and browser.

RESPONSIVE

A progressive web app must fit the device’s form factor and screen size. Sound obvious? You’d be surprised!

VISIBILITY

Because a progressive web app is a website, it need to be discoverable in search engines. This is a major advantage over native applications, which still lag behind websites in searchability.

FAMILIAR

A progressive web app should look like a native app and be built on the application shell model, with minimal page refreshes. This increases user confidence.

CURRENT

When new content is published and the user is connected to the Internet, that content should be made available in the app. After all, who wants old news?

SECURE

As a progressive web app has a more intimate user experience and because all network requests can be intercepted through service workers, top notch security is imperative.

RE-ENGAGABLE

Mobile app users are more likely to return to apps, and progressive web apps are intended to achieve the same goals through features such as push notifications.

INSTALLABLE

A progressive web app can be quickly installed on a device’s home screen, making it readily available.