For many years businesses often had to choose between developing a website or mobile app – or both at the same time. However over the last few years a new alternative has popped up: Progressive Web Apps (PWA).
To put it simply, a PWA provides an app-like experience on a website. In other words it looks, feels, and works like a native app – but runs in your browser itself.
At first glance that may not sound like anything special, but the fact of the matter is that it has immense potential. In fact there are 6 main reasons why businesses should give serious consideration to developing PWAs of their own:
- Looks and feels like a native app
The main advantage of PWAs is the simple fact that they (by definition) look and feel like mobile apps. As such they share all the advantages of mobile apps in terms of a better user experience that is quick, responsive, user-friendly and engaging – and support push notification functionality too.
In a nutshell, PWAs tend to draw and retain more users than a traditional website would.
- Not tied to any device or app store
Unlike normal mobile apps, the same PWA can work across any device be it a iPhone or iPad, Android phone or tablet, or even PC or Mac. And on top of that it won’t be tied to any app store either but hosted on your web server instead.
There are many benefits to the ‘freedom’ of PWAs. For starters it means that you don’t need to build a different version of your app for each device – which in turn will lower costs and take up less time. Aside from that you can also skip past the red tape of app stores and the rules that come with them.
- Quick and easy installation
Typically if you want to install a mobile app you’ll have to head to the right app store, search for it, start downloading it, then wait for the download to complete and for it to be installed before you can click on the icon to launch it. With a PWA you can typically interact with it almost immediately, and add its icon to your home screen or desktop with just a click.
- Take up less storage space
In most cases, PWAs take up significantly less storage space than their mobile counterparts. While that may seem odd, it is mainly because PWAs are more streamlined and require fewer of the ancillary code modules that are typically in mobile app packages.
One of the best examples of this is the Twitter Lite PWA that requires only 3% of the storage space that its Android counterpart does.
- Automated and silent updates
All of the updates for PWAs are automated and will install directly as soon as you open it. Because of that you don’t have to deal with permission requests or unnecessary notifications – unless the PWA is set up to send push notifications and inform users about the update.
- Good security
One of the features of PWAs is that they use HTTPS which will encrypt data and protect its safety. It can significantly cut down the risk of data breaches, snooping, content tampering, and other types of attacks.
It is worth noting that it is difficult to say that the security of PWAs is ‘better’ than native apps as the latter has the potential to improve security further. However it can be said that HTTPS makes PWAs relatively secure.
Starting to see why PWAs have become such an attractive proposition for businesses interested in custom software development? The fact that it is device and platform neutral alone will enable your business to save both time and money while reaching a far wider audience.
To sum it up, with PWAs there’s no reason for you to split your focus and choose between developing a website, iOS app, Android app, or app for any other platform. All you need to do is build a PWA and you’ll be able to reach everyone using any device and platform while at the same time benefiting from its user experience, security, lightweight size, and all the other advantages that it brings to the table.