PWA's are websites but better.
Progressive web applications (PWAs) are websites that give your users an app like experience. They are downloaded and installed on your mobile home screen and desktop through a standard web browser. PWA’s can be indexed by search engines, receive push notifications, sync in the background and also have access to mobile devices like microphones, cameras and touch sensors.
The requirements was outlined in 2015 by Google, since then the whole industry has been moving toward PWA's by integrating them into their browsers. They work on any platform that uses a standard compliant browser and provide a significant cost because they only require one coding platform to both website and app.
Which browsers support PWA's?
Today, progressive web apps are fully supported by Chrome and Opera. Firefox supports nearly all of their features. Microsoft Edge is working on them. Safari are even supporting them on iOS 11.3. A PWA provides features like push notification, home screen icon, full-screen and offline, the first app to glorify user engagement.
The UK clothing brand upgraded their website to a PWA and experienced a 31% increase in mobile conversion.
- 3.8x - Faster average page load time
- 2x - Lower bounce rate
- 31% - Increase in Conversion Rate
- 20% - More page views per visit
- 28% - Longer average time on site for visits from Home screen
Lancôme PWA proved to be successful for a number of reasons - they kept users engaged with push notifications with exclusive promotions and products releases. This method delivered an 18% open rate on mobile.
- 53% increase in mobile sessions on IOS
- 15% decrease in bounce rate
- 8% increase in users returning after abandoning their cart
- 17% increase in conversion on IOS devices
- They are accessed by Home Screen Icons and Desktop Icons
- Can receive push notifications (even if application closed)
- Can access some native features like Cameras, Microphone, File System and Database.
- App Install Banners – customized installation visual buttons – also built in address bar chrome install button
- Installs desktop (Home) icon which can be moved to start menu or task bar.
- Can add to Home Screen on android, does not have to be installed but provides extra functionality if installed.
- Work offline capabilities, you can prepare an offline version of site that still provides useful information, reported improvement on regular browser caching load times, can save submitted data offline and sync later, can use cache then when network comes online dynamically update with latest resources.
- Many sites report increased turnover with this technology as switching to PWA as a shortcut on your Home Screen has less moves for a user than opening browsers and entering a web address.
- Indexable via Search Engines as essentially is still a website where Native apps are not.
- Improved abandoned shopping cart retrieval and completion thanks to push notifications bringing people back to the site when they may not have thought about it but where reminded
- No updates required as its basically the website in a container with extra capabilities to access native os or at least simulate as its run by chrome window
- Future looks like it’s going to feature PWA more with windows 10 and Edge browser actively under development with extra features to integrate in to the OS, Apple iOS on the case also but Safari reportedly behind on offering some functionality in compared to Android and Chrome
- Some companies have Lite version of desktop/website app that loads really quickly eg goes direct to booking section
- Install Options; Google Play, Apple App Store, Windows 10 App Store, Chrome Browser, more options TBA in future
- Can’t load Native Apps from PWA such as Google Earth location, Photoshop or Media Players
- Not all features are accessible inconsistent support for cameras, compass, accelerometer, gesture support for screens etc
- Patchy support in some browsers to install to Desktop (may improve in future)
- Can’t do custom window shaped application – restricted to have a coloured frame around, no super special AIMP skins or old school Winamp skins, TV players
- Battery consumption greater
Progressive Web Apps - PWA Roadshow