What are Progressive Web Apps?

It may be a buzz word you have started to hear and a couple of my clients have started to ask about them so I thought I would write a short synopsis to these new trending terms.

Progressive Web Apps

An app is a form of software application, most notably thought of as the tools we download on our phones and tablets to chat to friends, make bookings or play games. But it can also be the programs we use on our computers or to control our Internet Of Things (IOT) devices such as heating and other household appliances.

Previously an app has been something you download from an app store or software re-seller - Window or Apple app store, Google play (android) or Adobe for example. You need to download the right type of app for your device and make sure it is compatible with your version of software but once installed you are in its own little microcosm; with notifications, offline processing, access to the inbuilt camera, storage - it's more secure and less likely to get hacked - and incredibly fast.

Until now mobile websites were unable to compete on this level as they are not equipped to make use of the built in processes of a handheld device - but in their favour was the ability to be found via search engines and the low 'barrier to entry' ie no need to download, install and set up even before allowing the user to know exactly what is inside.

So along comes Google's Progressive Web Apps combining the best of both worlds. This technology loads quickly, even on flaky networks, sends relevant push notifications, has an icon on the home screen and loads as a full screen experience like a native app. And, is searchable on search engines allowing users to immediately get a feel for the content and runs a ‘one size fit’s all’ when it comes to compatibility and centralised updating.

If your users may not need your app on such a regular basis or there are larger more established apps offering the same sort of content then Progressive Web Apps may be the one to consider. They should be less costly to launch and maintain, can be searched and marketed on search engines and allow the user to 'try before they buy' with no download and install barrier.

BUT... and there is a big but.

These PWA's are in their infancy, they are not yet fully compatible across operating systems and browsers so it is important to talk to your web designer or development team about the best options for your business when making digital decisions.

To find out more in depth details about the Progressive Web App have a look at my full article on www.infotex.co.uk


I am a freelance Website Designer, Logo Designer and Graphic Designer based in Woodbridge, Suffolk. Contact me for more information.