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Benefits of Progressive Web Apps (PWA) - Advantages and Disadvantages

by Nazar Kvartalnyi COO at Inoxoft

Digital 2021 global overview research reports that there are 5.22 billion mobile users today, which makes 66.6% of the total population. Most of these people use the mobile internet connection on their smartphones to browse different websites and media resources. Thus, most of the websites are built as user-friendly and performant as possible to provide the best user experience. Why is it important? Because it takes several seconds for a user to get interested and engage further with the webpage. 1% of website visitors tend to abandon it based on their first impression. 94% of visitors stay if the website meets their expectations.

According to Clutch.co, half of the small businesses have a mobile app, and the other half plan to develop a mobile app in the future. Mobile app development offers valuable opportunities for a business: from going digital and competitive and showing the presence on the market, to attracting more customers. To win from the start, businesses launch and offer Progressive Web Applications (PWAs). But what exactly is a PWA? What are the PWA benefits? Why is it different from a Single-page Application (SPA) or the advantages of PWA over native apps on the market? Let’s find out the advantages and disadvantages of pwa over traditional apps in this article.

What stands behind a Progressive Web Application?

A Progressive Web Application (PWA) is a web application that uses web browser APIs and features to make a cross-platform web app look like a Native one and bring the same experience. In the other words, it is sort of a Native app that opens with the help of a browser, it is possible to install it on the mobile home screen, access it offline, and receive push notifications. Among the most successful PWAs, there are Pinterest, Starbucks, Twitter Lite, The Washington Post, Forbes, and more.

In comparison, a single-page application is a web page, where the middle part reloads based on your inquiry, without reloading the whole page. SPAs are also accessed from a browser and dynamically upload the requested data from the webserver. For example, some of the well-known SPAs are Gmail, Google Maps, Facebook, Linkedin, and GitHub.

What concerns Native application, it is the software program specifically developed for a particular operating system and device. Mainly, for Android and iOS. Native apps can be uploaded to your smartphone using either Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store. After the installation, the app will be accessible from the relevant icon on the phone’s home screen. For instance, native apps include WhatsApp, Spotify, Pokemon Go, and others.

What Makes a Web App Progressive?

Not every web app can be called a PWA. The real PWAs consist of encrypted HTTP protocol (HTTPS), one or several service workers, a manifest file, and a fast-loading time due to its core architecture. Let’s look closer at these pwa features.

Encrypted HTTP protocol (HTTPS)

Any web application should be a secure site and browsed through a secure network. This makes a website a trusted place and allows users to make secure transactions without having second thoughts.

Service workers

Service workers are scripts that control the way a web browser handles network requests and asset caching. With the help of service workers, web developers create reliable and fast web pages that can work offline as well.

Manifest file

The manifest file is a JSON file. Its main role is to control the way an app appears to the end-users. Also, it ensures PWAs discoverability by describing the name of the app, the start URL, icons, and any additional information to shift from the website format into an app one.

Core Architecture

Due to being deployed in a smart and seamless way, the PWA’s major feature and great advantage among the others is its loading time.

Сommon Advantages of PWAs that positively impact businesses

Of course, there are several types of apps besides PWAs deployed today: native apps, single-page apps, and hybrid ones. However, the type of app that will suit your particular business should be chosen based on your business needs, requirements, and the key features an app will offer to your customer. For these reasons, let’s discuss the benefits of progressive web apps. A among the PWA advantages are:

1. Like a Native App

Nowadays, there are users that choose mobile apps over web browser ones and vice versa. Everything depends on the convenience of use and personal preferences. However, there is a tendency that makes mobile applications a far better choice. What’s more, the number of application users is expected to amount to 1,033.3m users by 2024. Hence, PWAs look both good and feel like mobile apps with website-like performance. In addition, the design of PWAs is similar to the Native apps’ design, PWAs and Native apps have a similar effect on user experience, the same speed, responsiveness, and comprehensive capabilities of websites with database access and automatic data. For this reason, Bing, Google, and other search engines index PWA pages and find them in no time.

2. Quick and Easy To Install

PWAs are installed straight from the web browser to any device. Having this feature, user abandonment of a web app is significantly lower with vividly enhanced advantage towards user experience. The installed app remains on the desktop or mobile device home screen and can be easily accessed from there. Also, it is not obligatory to install the PWA app to access it as it can be done via an URL as well. Due to the simplified ways to access the app, users find it credible, flexible, and reliable.

3. Enhanced Performance

The running speed of a progressive web app improves due to the fact that this app can function in an efficient manner, operate like a website, cache, and serve text, images, and other content. This type of software enhances not only the page-load speed but also user experience, improves retention rates, and promotes customer loyalty. Thus, if you have a business in retails or content provision, this type of app is just for you!

4. Working Everywhere

PWAs have the ability to work everywhere. Users, who often switch between their devices can receive cross-support anywhere. This is done to meet the consumer needs, to make sure they receive a continuous experience, to contribute to business automation, especially when it comes to companies that rely on PWAs as it is vital for them to understand that the software their employees’ use performs its best be it a platform or an app version. PWAs are highly responsive to various form factors, as they adapt properly to various screen sizes.

5. Operating Offline

Besides working everywhere, PWAs can operate offline. Thus, when your network connection is unstable this type of app will still work as a clock, but in offline mode. Due to the built-in service workers, the features and information of the PWA are saved and cached. This allows accessing the PWA without downloading it, especially in terms of poor connectivity. In the retail industry, the app is worth all the gold as in the case of internet crashes, it still allows viewing information users accessed previously and if the information is new - they will be redirected to a custom offline page. This way consumers will not abandon the catalog and this will enhance customer retention.

6. Updating Silently

Progressive Web Apps updates are automatic. The app does not notify its user about the upcoming updates and does not require user permission to update itself. The trick is that every time a user opens the app it updates immediately without downloading any batch changes and installing them. However, not all the PWAs update silently. If such a feature exists within the app, it will send its user a push notification informing about the new update arrival.

7. Sending Push Notifications

Commonly to the Native applications, PWAs also use the devices push-notification feature. This is a perfect capability for companies and their advertising campaigns. Why is this opportunity so great? Because users allow their PWAs to send them notifications and these notifications are highly noticeable on mobile screens. Thus, the companies have a chance to access their target audience, reach out to their users more often and become more recognized as a brand.

8. No App Distribution Platforms

Today, we can download apps from different distribution platforms. For instance, the App Store, Google Play, or the Microsoft Store, which have their specific requirements for software stored on them. Sometimes, it becomes a burden to meet these requirements or the app can be removed without prior notice. Hence, choosing PWAs you choose to be free of the distribution platform requirements and possible time waste and cost lost based on missing to meet some of the minor requirements.

9. More Efficient Security

As was mentioned above, PWAs use HTTPS to manage and maintain the safety of data stored within them, eliminate risks of security breaches, snooping, content tampering, and other illegal activity.

10. Eliminating the Development Cost

PWA becomes a good investment when it comes to functioning on different devices and adjusting to the screen sizes. Being so convenient and cross-platform, a PWA reduces developers’ time for its deployment and the customer’s costs.

What makes a PWA not a great fit for your business?

Having a bunch of advantages, PWAs cannot satisfy every business and become a perfect solution. There are also pwa disadvantages to consider. For example, PWAs

  • can function poorly on some of the operating systems
  • add to the fast battery drainage as require intense usage of CPU
  • cannot have such access to the device’s features as Native Apps have

The well-known Companies that Use PWAs to Boost their Performance

Starbucks PWA

At first, Starbucks was a global mobile ordering app. However, the main need - to be accessible to the existing and emerging markets made Starbucks reconsider its application and re-deploy it into a PWA. And, due to the progressive web app benefits the daily active users (DAU) visiting Starbucks increased twice.

Uber PWA

Uber happened to be a native app that turned into a PWA. This transition was triggered due to the need to be able to cater to anyone without taking care much about the network connectivity and the device. Thus, Uber’s PWA was designed to work fast even with a 2G connection. Now, the core app takes 3 seconds to load, there is no app download required to get a ride.

Pinterest PWA

Back in 2017, Pinterest owned a mobile web app. However, there was a business need that intended to offer a better experience for people located in the low-bandwidth environments and the ones with limited data plans. Thus, Pinterest had its site rebuilt into a PWA. This was quite a benefit as the site engagement rose to 60%, user-generated ad revenue increased to 44% and the time users spent on the site reached 40%.

Forbes PWA

2017 was also progressive for Forbes. In their aim to re-design the user experience and bring high-speed performance, a PWA was a great choice. On considering the advantages of progressive web apps, Forbes explained their transition and stated that

We spent months implementing best practices for mobile page performance across both iOS and Android phones. An m.forbes.com web page completely loads in 0.8 seconds, considerably faster than nearly all other sites and lightning-fast compared to our current mobile site. In geek speak, our new mobile site is also a Progressive Web App, meaning it meets certain Google specifications and can be installed on Android phones faster than native apps on iPhones.

Twitter Lite PWA

In 2017, Twitter decided that its users needed a more robust experience and delivered its Twitter Lite app with instant loading, greater user engagement, and lower data consumption. So, turning into a PWA Twitter has also witnessed the benefits of PWA. Its page session time increased by 65%, Tweets grew up to 75% and the bounce rate decreased to 20%. Twitter Lite is capable to load in under 3 seconds even when the network connection is slow.

PWA SEO Benefits

Among the progressive web app advantages is a possibility to contribute to the Seach Engine Optimization and their content is always featured in the search results. Google tools can even find your PWA score in the search results. The only case here is that the content of the app should be unique and search-relevant.

Inoxoft’s Experience with Progressive Web Applications

Inoxoft company knows all the advantages and disadvantages of progressive web app and has relevant experience with regards to PWA deployment. However, all these solutions belong to the non-disclosure agreement policy, which prohibits us to mention the names, features, and other information about the projects. Despite the fact, Inoxoft takes part in PWA development, advances its skills, and looks forward to developing progressive web applications to enhance your business potential, accelerate your end-user interest and add to your product pay-off. For any information regarding PWAs or consultation on whether this type of app is right for you - engage with our team of experts.

Summing Up

Progressive Web Applications became an amazing choice for numerous popular companies. With the help of progressive web apps advantages, users became more satisfied with the loading speed, home screen access, extra security and data privacy, and offline mode. If you aim at enhancing your mobile app running speed, performance, user engagement, and satisfaction - choose to develop a progressive web app. If you need consultation on progressive web app pros and cons, whether this app is a good fit for your business, and a team of experts to deploy one for you - contact us anytime.


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About Nazar Kvartalnyi Innovator   COO at Inoxoft

19 connections, 1 recommendations, 83 honor points.
Joined APSense since, April 29th, 2020, From Lviv, Ukraine.

Created on Aug 10th 2021 11:22. Viewed 117 times.

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