What are Progressive Web Apps?

In mid 2015 web technologies reached an important step in their evolution and the term “Progressive Web App” was coined to describe a new user experience somewhere between a website and a native app.

What is a PWA?

A Progressive Web App is a website that takes advantage of modern web capabilities, allowing the user to install web apps on the home screen of their mobile device to look, act and feel like a native app.

 

Figure 1: Add to home-screen animation

PWA’s are designed to be:

Fast, Safe & Reliable

  • Load the content in less than three seconds ( 53% of users leave after  three seconds).
  • Work offline or on low quality networks using Service Workers.
  • Serve content via HTTPS to prevent intrusions.

Re-engaging

  • Easily installable without the hassle of an app store.
  • Easily shareable via a URL.
  • Makes re-engagement easy through features like push notifications.

Fresh & Clean

  • The interface fits any screen and looks the same for every user.
  • Feels like an app with application style interactions and navigation.

How Does It Work?

PWAs use Service Workers scripts running in the background in the browser. These scripts manage the content and synchronise the app using Web APIs. Service Workers stand between the network and device delivering the content efficiently using their cache, dispatching the site even with a slower or completely absent connection.

 

PWA_work.png

Figure 2: How PWA works

Benefits:

Many organisations registered promising results after evolving their web stores to a Progressive Web App approach. Here are two specific case studies from Alibaba (The giant online marketplace) and from Flipkart (The Ecommerce company).

Alibaba

  • 76% higher conversion rate
  • 30% higher number of active users on Android
  • 14% higher number of active users on iOS
  • 4X higher interaction rate

Flipkart

  • 70% higher conversion rate
  • 3x more time spent onsite
  • 40% higher re-engagement rate
  • 3X lower data usage