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Everything you need to know about PWA.

Progressive Web Apps, PWA, apps

The behavior of Internet users is changing, trends and habits are changing. Mobile devices have burst into our daily lives and there is no indication that they will quickly stop being a tool for browsing the web, shopping online or contacting relatives and friends. This changeable behavior forced the owners of businesses, but also the programmers themselves to look for solutions that will allow brands to reach consumers in a personalized and convenient for users way. That's how Progressive Web Apps was born, which combine the functionality of the application and the website. What do brands gain by deciding to implement PWA? You can read about it below.

Google supports changes?

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During the I/O `17 conference, which was organized by Google, Sam Birch spoke about PWA. He already praised the opportunities and benefits of progressive applications. First of all, they give the user the opportunity to browse the pages in an optimal way, and at the same time allows the owner to use solutions that were previously reserved only for a website or a mobile application. The main advantages of PWA include, among others, the possibility of sending personalized PUSH notifications to users, operation in offline mode, easy "installation" on the phone. PWA does not need typing a website address into the browser, it does not require uncomfortable navigation from us if the website is not adapted to mobile devices.

Google appears here because the giant supports this type of application, and even - as it often happens - it suggests developers how it should look and what to include. All tips are available on this page.

To be qualified for Progressive Web Apps, website must meet several conditions:

  • support a secure HTTPS connection - be able to install SSL certificates;
  • be responsive;
  • have content that will also display offline;
  • have a Web App Manifest file, a simple file in JSON format that informs the browser about the application and how it should behave after installation on a mobile device or computer;
  • the first page loading must be fast, even when we have access to a poor connection, e.g. via mobile;
  • must work on every browser;
  • each subpage should have a separate url address.

These are only part of the conditions. Additional information can be found on the aforementioned website. There are, among others, description of practices regarding payment, page loading and many more.

The market needed modern solutions?

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Since the beginning, Progressive Web Apps has been trying to respond to the needs of current users and the market. Why use PWA when shops and portals often have dedicated applications, and a web browser is installed on each of the smartphones? For this reason, the assumption of these web applications is to provide mobile users with the highest quality experience.

Analyzing Forrester's research, we can find out that 60% of mobile device users use only 3 applications, and the most frequently chosen by users are Google Maps, Facebook and YouTube. This means that the chances of appearing among popular applications are quite negligible.

In addition, Google also provided information on user behavior at the mentioned conference. It shows that 3 times more respondents visit pages on the browser, which is on the phone, than using dedicated applications prepared by the developers. However, when we combine it with the time spent by users on using the application, it is many times higher than in the case of websites that we browse on the phone.

There are also other factors related to the behavior of recipients. First of all - we rarely browse websites on a mobile phone, especially when they are not adapted to mobile devices, and secondly - the lack of Internet connection may reduce our shopping plans or clean the basket in the e-store.

PWA is an opportunity for website, portals and e-stores owners

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Lewis Dvorkin Chief Product Officer from Forbes Magazine talked about the benefits of this solution and how the implementation of Progressive Web Apps translated into website statistics. Thanks to the huge possibility of personalizing information and advertising activities, such applications become not only a sales and promotional medium, but also give the opportunity to collect and analyze our users' data. Forbes reports that thanks to PWA, the number of ads displayed has increased by 20%, the readers' involvement - by 100%. In addition, the number of sessions per user increased by 43%. This is not all - the homepage of the portal is loaded completely in 0.8 seconds, which is a result that is often unachievable for normal portals.

Dvorkin appreciates very much the possibility of sending PUSH notifications, which allow users to be informed about new articles in the category they are interested in, or about special offers. The PWA capabilities are even better seen in e-commerce and in restaurant and hotel services.

OLX reports that after the implementation of PWA, the "click rate" of users in PUSH notifications increased by 250%, the CTR for ads increased by 146%, and the bounce rate dropped by 80%. The Best Western River North Hotel has increased revenues from bookings made on the site by 300%, all after the creation and implementation of Progressive Web Apps.

Among the most frequently mentioned advantages of the application are:

  • simplicity of installation and ease of use - they do not need large disk space, do not require updating, they are created for each device regardless of its model, screen diagonal, etc. They do not require the user to type a www address, and the interfaces used are legible for the user and easy to use;
  • high reliability - what characterizes PWA is the ability to operate even when the device is not connected to the network. All thanks to the Service Worker, a script that works all the time in the background, regardless of the site itself. It is this solution that allows us to go back to the previous pages even when we lose the Internet connection;
  • independence - in order for PWA to work, the type of device, its model, and memory resources, or the type of web browser do not matter. The progressive application must be prepared in such a way that it works independently of the environment in which it will be launched.
  • easy access to the user and increased conversions - the aforementioned personalization of content and PUSH notifications give a chance to easily reach recipients. Mobify reports that PUSH notifications used in PWA have 46% greater openability than e-mail campaigns. Statistics provided by United eXtra Electronic show that the engagement of recipients increased by 4 times and sales increased by 100% among users who started receiving PUSH notifications from PWA.

Let us return to the industries in which Progressive Web Apps solutions will work. Hotels, motels and restaurants can use them to facilitate the presentation of the offer, as well as to notify about reservations, offers and promotions. Thanks to them, we can easily and quickly book a table in our favorite cafe, and also use a discount coupon.

Information portals, blogs and news websites can get ideas from the mentioned Forbes. PWA seems to be a solution created for e-commerce. The multitude of tools related to personalization allows you to target ads, offers, promotions, discount coupons, etc.

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At the end of the article, let us see, some interesting statistics.

  • Google reports that banners implemented in Progressive Web Apps convert from 5 to 6 times more often than banners on websites.
  • Uber PWA at 2G range loads in less than 3 seconds and takes less than 50kb.
  • Tinder PWA reduced the loading time from 11.91 seconds to 4.69 seconds and - most importantly - it is smaller than the native Android app.
  • The average load time for a PWA-based page is 2.75 seconds.
  • PWA takes an average of 25x less disk space than a dedicated application.
  • Progressive Web Apps loads up to 15x faster than a regular website.

As you can see, Progressive Web Apps have a huge advantage over applications or websites. Surely in some time Google will decide that PWA is a standard and sites must use this solution. It was the same with SSL certificates. Sites without a valid certificate installed are punished with lower search engine positions. Everything is changing, so maybe it's time for change also in our business? It is worth to outrun the competition, which often still has on old websites, which are often not even responsive. Let's also give customers the opportunity to use our offer in a convenient way, which will translate into sales.

Adam Trojańczyk

CEO of Cat In Black Software House (a software house that builds awesome apps). He was employed by the largest digital agencies. He is also the founder and CTO of Tap To Speak (the award-winning worldwide application).

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