Forbes, AliExpress, OLX, Pinterest, Lancome, Washington Post – what is it that unites these brands? They all invested into progressive web app development and won.

PWA stats resource has a lot of engaging and overwhelming examples on how this technology is conquering the digital space. And it’s a good strategical question: what to build? “Web + native iOS + native Android”? Or “PWA that will cover web+mobile”?

We do not claim that PWA is a complete substitute for native app development, no way. But it’s a good alternative for those, who would like to make cost-effective decisions and launch MVP wisely. Without loosing mobile-addicted audience and still providing seamless mobile experience you can spend 3 times less efforts for developing your application and spend 10 times more efforts on marketing, branding, user experience and functionality adjustments.

Corpsoft.io offers PWA development services. It’s good for launching basic MVP and trying out the idea to see if further native apps development worth spending efforts, or perhaps it’s even more effective to keep PWA.

Let’s be fair saying that PWA has both: advantages as well as the drawbacks. And there’re cases, when native application development is the only right choice despite the costs savings. At the same time, it’s worth considering all options.

What is the Progressive Web App?

Google described perfectly their invention here. In the nutshell, progressive web app is a web application that combines best of the web and best of the mobile app. It is built as web application and prompts users to install an icon on their mobile screens for offline usage or simply usage on the go. PWA allows reaching maximum potential in such areas as:

— Responsiveness: such application will fit any form factor (desktop, tablet or mobile);
— Connectivity: such application will show fast and great performance despite the stability of the network;
— Natural UX: on mobile, such apps provide true mobile experience and it doesn’t feel like it’s a mobile version of some web app;
— Safety: https connection secures users from snooping.

In addition to that, product owners get the following benefits:

— Less worries about passing App store/ Google play reviews (at the same time users could feel limited legitimacy, so kind of a two edges sword);
— Such apps can be found by search engines, making the app more discoverable;
— Keeps users engaged via push notifications and allows installing it to the mobile home screen as if it’s an application from the store.

The reason of calling it progressive is described by Google: “Works for every user, regardless of browser choice because it’s built with progressive enhancement as a core tenet.”

Drawbacks associated with the Progressive Web App development?

1) If implementing modern log in/security features via a fingerprint scanner, PWA would not be a fit, as it’s not yet supporting this feature.

2) There’s also a challenge associated with cross-app login. Native apps can interact with other installed apps to authenticate logins (for example Facebook, Twitter, Google). As a webpage, PWA is not supporting communication with other apps installed on a mobile device.

3) PWA can’t use features such as GPS or NFC.

4) Development team should be well educated to deliver PWA, since it has peculiarities around combining technology perspective (coding a web app) with UX perspective (providing mobile UX to users).

5) Think about navigation and UX twice. When you have a browser, you have a lot of things covered (like the address line, or navigation buttons). When you combine two concepts, you need to understand that some things get dropped out (like browser help). In addition to this, you need to remember that additional things come up, like tapping! Users will expect tapping capabilities when working with the PWA on mobile.

6) Caching and keeping the info up to date. Sine PWAs can work offline, think about the user experience related to working with the app without connection. If your PWA’s content is pretty dynamic, you need to inform users about synchronization need.

7) If your app content is not dynamic, there’s another challenge. PWAs can’t override mobile locking settings (in opposite to native apps) and user can have the mobile go dark or locked in the middle of their reading or looking at something.

8) Payments. That’s a hard topic, abandonment rate in mobile purchases is rather high. Recommending to take advantage of Payment request API when working on PWA.

9) Going extra mile to make your PWA work well with iOS. Good tips here related to bigger icon, proper splash screen, custom pop up to prompt users add the app to home screen, offline mode, etc.

 


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