What is a Progressive Web App? A Guide to PWA.

WompMobile was recently featured in an article by TechNewsWorld, entitled “The Beauty of Progressive Web Apps.”

The story provides a solid overview about Progressive Web Apps (PWA), including why the technology is a breakthrough in mobile-web development, as well as the benefits and various approaches. Here are some highlights of the article and our take on the technology:

Why Mobile is Important and Why Businesses Should Care?

Considering that mobile reliance is on an upward trajectory – with consumers turning to their devices to search, price compare and buy – there’s a tremendous opportunity for increased engagement by upgrading to an always-fast digital experience.

Mobile represents an untapped opportunity. Why? Because businesses are faced with surging mobile traffic, yet the desktop remains the primary revenue source. There’s a conversion-rate delta between mobile and desktop – and the barrier preventing mobile from driving revenue is poor performance. On mobile, shoppers expect a frictionless experience, including content that loads easily and quickly. Being the case, the average mobile-landing page takes over 22 seconds to load, which translates into user abandonment.

Mobile is where all the growth is happening — and to meet consumer expectations — and a new way to build for devices is required to capture and retain their attention. But there’s a way forward, thanks to Progressive Web Apps.

What are Progressive Web Apps (PWA)?

A Progressive Web App (PWA) combines the smooth and rich experience of a native app with the discoverability of the web. It’s the best of both worlds – an app-like feel with the convenience of the web.

By merely entering a URL address – or clicking a link from search results – a user enters into a seamless experience that feels purpose-built for mobile devices. From push notifications and offline access to prompting users to pin a website’s app-icon to the home screen, PWAs deliver a reliable, fast experience.

The article summed it up nicely: “PWAs, which exist in a space between apps and websites, are mobile-friendly. At the same time they offer everything that consumers want while Web surfing and shopping.”

What are the benefits and advantages of PWA?

Simply put: PWA provides the effortless mobile experience that consumers want, which for businesses results in capturing a growing revenue stream.

The number one concern that we hear from businesses is that the majority of their growth and traffic comes from mobile but the bulk of revenue still happens on desktop. Technologies like PWA offer a new solution to transform an existing mobile website into storefront that finally rivals the desktop.

Google offers a checklist for the features that a baseline PWA should include. Here are a few features:

  • Having a service worker for offline capability and push notifications
  • The web-app manifest for add-to-home screen
  • Being responsive/ adaptive across all devices and cross-browser
  • Fast page-loads on 3G networks
  • Snappy, seamless page transitions

A PWA isn’t just a new website, it’s a radically new way to attract, engage and convert mobile shoppers. Your website becomes your native app.

Are PWAs fast? What is AMP and PWA?

As the articles says: PWAs can be enhanced with technology like Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) to ensure the fastest-possible load times.

“Being PWA-compliant doesn’t solve for speed. In fact, you can absolutely build a slow PWA. To ensure performance, we use a development pattern that combines AMP and PWA technologies. The pattern — commonly known as a ‘Progressive Web AMP’ — unites the app-like benefits of PWA with the guaranteed speed for AMP. On mobile, milliseconds matter, and the combination offers the fastest speeds possible.” – Robert Gara, cofounder of WompMobile, told TechNewsWorld

When considering a PWA, performance is a critical factor. Speed is what captures a consumer’s attention and keeps them engaged in the buy flow. And from a consumer acquisition standpoint, Google announced that mobile-page speed is a ranking signal – a move that underscores the search giant’s growing emphasis on catering to devices. The algorithm update undoubtedly rewards businesses who deliver fast-to-load mobile experiences and, inversely, penalize those who don’t.

With speed being so critical on mobile, the combination of AMP and PWA, brings together two technologies to work symbiotically as a seamless experience. With AMP you get guaranteed speed and the PWA offers a feature-rich experience. There’s no reason to not build a PWA using AMP as the underlying framework.

How does AMP and PWA work together?

The combination of AMP and PWA is a development pattern known as PWAMP or Progressive Web AMP. The pattern combines the app-like benefits of PWA with the guaranteed speed for AMP.

The PWA’s app shell features a persistent menu and header – just like a native app – that loads AMP pages as the source of the content. Because AMP pages are lightweight, pre-cached and pre-rendered, they load instantly at every user step.

From discovery in search to checkout, AMP in PWA delivers a seamless solution that offers high-performance and a user-centric experience that companies can trust for steady returns.

Where are PWAs headed? What’s the future of PWAs?

Consumers have shifted away from desktop and now rely on mobile devices. And this new reality has happened faster than most companies have been able to plan for. Responsive websites of the past have reached their shelf life and a total re-think is required to capture mobile customers and revenue.

“Responsive Web design no longer meets the needs of businesses or the expectations from consumers. As more browsers add support for PWA technologies, PWA will emerge as the new standard for the Web. PWA adoption will increase customer satisfaction, leading to exponential revenue growth from mobile devices.” —  TechNewsWorld

To learn more about how WompMobile can help you launch a world-class PWA, check out this video or reach out to one of our mobile experts for a free consultation.