Progressive Web Applications (PWA) integrate the key features of mobile websites with native applications. They are websites that appear similar to and function like an application, which implies that users can get access to all the information and features without installing the mobile application.
Alternatively, Progressive Web Applications use the latest web technology to offer app-like perceptions to users, directly through their browsers.
They are cost-effective, productive and take up very little space on mobile devices. The features of native applications make them simpler to interact with, while mobile websites have a significant reach as they are much easily available (as there isn’t a need to find and install a software application from an Application Store).
The Progressive Web Application technology uses the application program interface to offer a native-style application experience in a web browser. There is no need to install progressive web apps, yet they can perpetually remain on the home screen of a user.
Businesses can take advantage of Progressive Web Applications to boost their page visits, session length, and conversions.
Offering a better performance as compared to conventional websites and applications, quicker loading time, and engaging user interactions, Progressive Web Applications are cost-effective and consume very little space in mobile devices.
The most distinguishing features of progressive web applications include the following:
Progressive web applications also possess the quality of being very lightweight, thus, allowing individuals to take full advantage of applications and websites without large amounts of data being consumed.
Before we get into creating Progressive Web Apps, let us take you through some significant examples of Progressive Web Applications.
AliExpress is the retail e-commerce division of Alibaba, the extraordinarily successful B2B platform in China. Being an integral part of the Alibaba Group, and aiming to offer an engaging experience to their customers on mobile, they adopted the cross-browser Progressive Web App strategy, which has remarkably improved the user experience and the performance of the website.
Financial Times, a leading global business publication has resorted to Progressive Web Apps to offer an improved experience to their subscribers. The Financial Times PWA leverages the offline potential of the Progressive Web App technology, which enables a quicker toggling and loading of news items, since they are loaded at first and then stored locally, in order to enable their readers to read articles even when they’re not connected to the internet.
This application gets loaded on the phone in just a couple of seconds, which gives an incredible experience to the readers.
Flipboard, which is one of the world’s most popular social magazine is a perfect example of a Progressive Web App for online news. The Flipboard PWA reduces data usage to a great extent to offer a dexterous and quick browsing experience, along with an engaging interface.
The PWA enables Flipboard to offer an identical experience to users through their fully-featured native app on the web, making it accessible for desktop users too. Flipboard gets its readers to keep pace with all the topics, right from the news articles and the events happening around them from one place.
It fetches stories and news from all over the world, together, in the form of a magazine, based on their reader’s interest. Also, users can save images, videos, and stories, and can follow their favored sources into their Flipboard magazines, so that they could share it with others or read them later.
Forbes, which is one among the leading business magazines in the US, which publishes articles on marketing, finance, industry, and investment, was among the first media giants to opt for developing a Progressive Web App in order to better its mobile web user experience.
Forbes has benefited a great deal by the incredibly fast loading times of Progressive Web Apps. User engagement rates have also been doubled with the help of the push notifications functionality of Progressive Web Apps.
Next comes OLX, which is one among the largest online classified advertisement directories in India and which is running an online marketplace, connecting local buyers and sellers in more than 40 countries around the world.
With more than 90% of users resorting to smartphones, OLX realized the need to pay attention to its mobile user experience and it launched the OLX Progressive Web App. The application offered an interactive experience to its customers. It also utilized push notifications for better user engagement.
The app comprises of an active chat option which enables the customers to negotiate on the product prices.
OLX noted that the majority of its conversions came from their PWA.
Pinterest, the most popular website that gives creative ideas to its users through images, recipes, products, and videos, invested in building a Progressive Web App, owing to the former networking experience, which resulted in conversions at the rate of 1%, and with the intent of garnering immense global attention.
With an objective of enabling faster performance, enhancing the user experience (UX), and making the interface more interactive, the Pinterest website was given the shape of a Progressive Web App, which resulted in a drastic shift in the performance index.
Pinterest’s PWA turned out to be a data-friendly and quick solution for the users, as it offered push notifications, offline support, and lower bandwidth usage. This has given a remarkable boost to the ad clickthroughs, and the time spent by the users on the mobile site.
Starbucks, which is ranked among the top coffee houses in the world, witnessed significant growth in the implementation of a Progressive Web App. Their website users have doubled, just like their mobile app users.
Since Starbucks has a presence in numerous countries that are deprived of a good communication infrastructure, the Starbucks PWA was made life in 2017, keeping the huge number of mobile customers and emerging markets in mind.
It was built with the motive of making it convenient for its customers to browse the menu, place customized orders, and include them in the shopping cart on the website, despite weak internet connectivity, or the absence of it.
The Starbucks PWA uses caching to make most of its functionalities available offline and is enabling the coffee giant to be virtually present in locations with weak internet connectivity too. It has also played a major role in reinforcing the image of Starbucks as a name synonymous with coffee.
It has also been successful in engaging desktop users, who placed orders online through the website at the same rate as mobile customers.
Trivago, a well-known hotel booking website in the travel industry, which assists its users in choosing the best hotel stay and services based on their interests and budget, launched its Progressive Web App with the aim of increasing user engagement by delivering impeccable interactions to their clients, and encouraging them to find and book an accommodation through the platform with ease.
Trivago’s PWA has an intuitive interface that makes it easier for travelers to compare the rates of different hotels, go through the reviews and ratings, get information on the distances from the mentioned hotels to the local places of interest, or book a particular hotel. It also helps in reducing the search marketing efforts that the hotel owners have to put in.
The PWA is accessible to users in 55 countries and it enables them to choose from more than 30 languages. Some of its features include push notifications (which enable in enhancing user re-engagement, a loading time of a couple of seconds, and an offline mode.).
The Progressive Web App technology enabled the Trivago search engine is getting more conversions as compared to its native app.
A prominent social media platform, Twitter needs no introduction. With the majority of its users on mobile, Twitter was looking to offer an engaging and authentic experience, along with reducing the website loading time and visitor bounce rate.
Twitter’s Progressive Web App, Twitter Lite was launched in 2017, and it was welcomed with great zeal. Twitter has been adding new and exciting features to its PWA ever since. It is the cheapest, most reliable, and fastest way to access Twitter.
It enables a high-speed performance, improved user engagement on the mobile app, a remarkable boost to ad clickthroughs and the time that users spend on the mobile web.
It loads web pages in an instant and reduces the use of mobile data by optimizing images and depending on cached data.
Approximately 10 million push notifications are generated by Twitter Lite every day, which encourages user re-engagement to a great extent.
Uber, one of the most popular cab service platforms with its operations in various countries around the world was among the first adopters of Progressive Web Apps.
It launched m.uber, its Progressive Web App with the objective of making cab booking easy on low-speed 2G networks. It enables users to book a ride irrespective of the device, network speed, location, and without installing the Uber mobile app.
The PWA can also be operated on mobile devices that are not supported by Uber’s native app. It operates at very fast speed even on 2G networks and takes a couple of seconds to load from the user’s home screen.
The numerous examples mentioned above illustrate the incredible potential of Progressive Web Apps and the benefits that they have offered to various brands across industries, right from e-commerce, social networking, and travel, to media and entertainment.
Built at a much lesser cost as compared to a mobile app, and with an efficient combination of native mobile software and web applications, PWAs have made a remarkable contribution in bettering user experience and increasing retention rates, along with offering improved security, boosting conversions, and reducing the loading time.
For start-ups and businesses that don’t have a native app built for themselves may opt for investing in a PWA and leverage its vast potential to get the most out of their business.
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