What are Progressive Web Apps and what are their benefits?
Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) – are websites that resemble smartphone apps not only in appearance, but also in functionality. The popularity of progressive web apps is gaining momentum every year, and today I’ll tell you why.
The Benefits of PWAs
- The first advantage of PWA over apps is that you don’t have to go to Google Play or the AppStore to download anything. All you need is an Internet connection and a browser.
- The second advantage of PWA is that anyone can install a shortcut to the site on the home screen of their device as if it were a mobile app. What’s more, the site doesn’t need the extra 100 MB of space that would make it necessary to delete photos or other apps. It’s critical, as part of the PWA deployment strategy, to decide when it’s most convenient to show the user that they can create a shortcut on their smartphone’s home screen.
- With Progressive Web App, the user can continue to use the site even if the Internet is gone. Profit to loyalty!
- PWA pages can weigh less than 1 MB. This gives a big advantage to the mobile-first world (which we actually live in).
- One strategy for increasing repeat visits is to send push notifications. Push notifications remind the user that there is new content on the site. Fortunately, Progressive Web Apps allows you to send notifications to your smartphone’s home screen, similar to regular apps (alas, it only works on Android for now).
So, to summarize the above: the loyalty of users of PWA sites is achieved through push notifications, the ability to install a shortcut, offline operation and high page load speeds.
Let’s take a hypothetical example. A recreation base in the Leningrad region. To make it easy for visitors to find the base, the site adds detailed information on how to get to the place. But often people forget to write down the coordinates or drive past the signs. Lost travelers, of course, will want to call the reception or look on the website where to go, but in the area is weak internet, and in some places there is none at all. So finding a vacation spot can be a stressful situation. A PWA site can solve this problem, as the icon is already installed on your phone and the home page will open without internet.
Examples of popular PWAs
- The Washington Post. After launching PWA there was a 12% increase in visits, page load time was reduced to 80 milliseconds.
- With the addition of this feature, the online store increased traffic by 28%.
- Book My Show. India’s largest ticketing company with 50 million monthly visitors. Implementation of PWA increased conversion rate by 80%.
How do Progressive Web Apps work?
Progressive Web Apps consist of two main parts:
- The shell, which displays the page structure (the grid);
- Content, which can vary between different pages of the app.
Depending on the technology used to develop the page, the content can be sent from the server in HTML format or using JSON scripting. However, you need to be careful when using JSON as this script can negatively affect the indexing of pages in search engines.
One of the most important elements of PWA is the application manifest in JSON format. The file allows you to change the visuals in areas where content would normally be displayed.
This file contains the following data:
- Name: the name of the application.
- Description: The description of the application.
- Icons: the icon of the application with different resolutions for mobile devices.
- Start url: launch url. When the user clicks on the icon, the home page should open.
- Display: display settings (standalone, fullscreen, minimal-ui and others).
- Orientation: the web application can be used in portrait or landscape mode.
- Theme_color: the color that will be used in the top bar of the application.
- Background_color: the color for the screen before the application is fully loaded.
Another important PWA file is the Service Worker, a script that runs in the background and allows the site to work offline, loading content and generating push notifications.
You can check if the site is using service-worker.js scripts with your browser:
- Open any web page.
- Right-click and select “Inspect Element”.
- Click on the “Application” tab and “Service Workers.” Here is an example:
- PWA examples.
You can also open the “Cache Storage” section – you can see the files that have been loaded and cached by Service Worker scripts.
PWA is a promising technology that adds application functionality to the site, increases performance and improves behavioral factors. Plans for this technology are also great – Google is actively promoting this technology, which in the future will affect the ranking of sites in the search engine.
For even more information about PWA: Progressive Web Apps, visit https://unitedcode.net at blog/trends/how-to-create-a-progressive-web-application-complete-guide/ .