Progressive Web Apps: how to leverage them to improve UX?

Index

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) represent one of the newest frontiers in the world of software development. This new cross-platform web application model offers many extra features for native devices while simulating the loading of a normal web page. Why is the term PWA on every programmer’s lips and what are the benefits of using this technology?

PWA: what are they and what features do they include?

PWAs or progressive web applications are nothing more than applications halfway between a website and a mobile application, which are created with the aim of providing users with a better user experience than a native Android or iOS app. To develop a PWA, knowledge of client-side scripting languages (HTML, Javascript, and Json) is sufficient, while programming skills in Java or Objective C are not required.

A meeting point and mediation between traditional web technologies and more modern native applications, PWAs seek to combine in a winning formula both the features offered by major browsers and the benefits of mobile use.

Google-which is responsible for coining the term PWA-includes this technology in the category of Advanced Web Technologies, which also includes AMP pages, or Accelerated Mobile Pages born with the goal of creating eye-catching, intuitive Web pages that load instantly in the eyes of users.

Progressive web app technology provides developers with powerful and useful tools to build functional and integrated platforms for individuals and businesses. The site-to qualify as a PWA-must meet the following requirements:

  • SSL Security Protocol
  • Responsiveness
  • Presence of the Service Worker that allows content to be offered offline as well
  • Presence of the manifest.json file
  • Performance and loading speed on slow networks on first boot (3g)
  • Cross Browser (Chrome, Safari, Mozilla, Opera, Edge)
  • Clean and error-free URLs

Progressive Web App: reasons to adopt user-friendly applications

Progressive web apps aim to improve engagement and user experience through maximizing performance and simplifying navigation. Unlike mobile apps, PWAs do not require actions (e.g., downloading from the app store) other than installing the progressive web app icon to the main screen of the smartphone.

Among the more advanced features made available by PWAs are:

  • The creation of a shortcut for using the web app by adding an icon to the Home of the mobile device, without the use of a browser or search engine;
  • activating push notifications to interact with the audience (e.g., before they abandon reading a blog article or to alert them to the renewed availability of a product sold online);
  • enjoyment in conditions of no Internet connection thanks to the caching of resources on the smartphone;
  • The automation of updates;
  • the readiness of the web app to be crawled and indexed by search engine bots makes them available in the Google SERP, unlike native apps;
  • The ease of distribution and sharing from any browser via a simple URL;
  • The freedom of development resulting from the absence of obligations to requirements dictated by app stores.

Multiple benefits flow from the adoption of PWAs including:

Having completed the fifth anniversary of the birth of this technology, progressive web apps prove to be a trend topic in the software development industry and promise to be a winning ally in the digital strategy for promoting a brand.

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