Progressive web apps bring an action to the IT and e-commerce markets. In 2020, half of all mobile apps for end-users will be replaced by progressive web apps, in the future, abbreviated to PWA. Gartner’s IT analysts give this forecast. This means that most of the new app developments in the coming years will have to be PWAs. Otherwise, this growth would not be achievable. In the next two years, the entire IT industry and the consumer side will switch to the new app model and thus to a further reception behavior.
Responsive website vs. Native app
There has been a debate about whether responsive websites will dominate in the medium term or whether mobile apps will prevail for ten years. As a result, PWAs are increasingly emerging that blur the lines between web and apps. They use the latest browser technologies to combine the accessibility of the Internet with natural apps. Leading browser providers such as Mozilla and Google are already mostly compatible. Apple also recently announced support for Safari in this context. Thanks to this increased support, it is only a matter of time before the PWA establishes itself as the new standard for web interactions.
Remedy for app tiredness
Developers and application managers must now formulate an approach for incorporating PWA into their overall mobile development strategy. The app model of the future aims to break the mobile app’s paradigm by combining the web experience with native app functionality. The time of the approaching technology turnaround is no coincidence: The pace of app downloads is slowing in most consumer markets worldwide, especially where the introduction of mobile devices is exhausted. This phenomenon is known as “app fatigue.” What is meant is exhaustion, where users are overwhelmed by the number of possible apps and limit their number per device to an upper limit. Therefore, companies have to lower their expectations of the number of downloads on mobile devices and reassess their strategies.
PWA has app-like features, but saves the user an often data-intensive download. That makes them ideal for casual users of a brand or service. For example, according to industry studies, only a small percentage of customers of a retail company download the app because they only shop here irregularly. In this situation, retailers should provide a mobile app experience specifically for high-frequency, loyal customers, and use PWA for all other cases.
Create added value
The next question is what app developers, website operators, and docked service providers can do to pave the way for PWAs. First and foremost, they have to create added value for their customers. Specifically, this means providing useful functions and acceptable content in real-time or near time, i.e., with a high topicality level. Before any new development or adaptation of existing app models, those responsible clarify which functions a PWA must contain to attract their customer base.
Advantages for users and operators
Experience has shown that the mental hurdle of installing an app on a smartphone or tablet is much higher than just opening a website and creating an icon. The PWA scores here because it does not have to be installed on the mobile device and only takes up little storage space. Operators benefit from the fact that the application does not go through an app store provider’s approval process. So they can neither fail, nor are they subject to direct control by Apple or Google. The relevant stores cannot avoid supporting the new technology in the short term, even if the opportunities to exert influence are reduced, and the commissions from sales in the store are dropped.
In everyday life, customers prefer responsive websites on smartphones and other devices. This fact and the associated concentration on a few functions and straightforward web design are behind Mobile First. Despite the strong demand, websites used on the move in this country still pay their tribute to the poor broadband connections across the board, such as in elevators, subways, or trains. This is where PWAs come up trumps: They cache content that does not have to be reloaded repeatedly. The faster access to data via the operating system usually ensures improved user experience and a better conversion rate. While iOS currently still requires a permanent real-time internet connection, PWA via Android also runs offline. Besides, Android uses a high bandwidth for PWA as long as there is still an internet connection. The operating system tries to download as much content as possible in the background and keep it up-to-date.
As more number of companies seek to hire mobile app developers, PWAs are revolutionizing the future of the mobile use of web resources and are even leading rather location-based systems such as tablets and desktops to new user experience.
PWAs require application managers to work with designers to reevaluate mobile websites and improve app-oriented user experience (UX). The orientation towards the new app variant must lead those responsible for increasingly questioning the usefulness of native apps. The following three tips make the switch easier:
Develop and use PWA to improve your online performance.
Gradually add further functionalities and back-end applications so that the user experience is further improved, and the users of the PWA receive added value.
Albert Smith is a digital marketing manager with Hidden Brains, a leading enterprise web & mobile app development company specializing in mobile & web applications, IoT, cloud and big data services. He provides innovative ways to help tech companies, startups and large enterprises build their brand.