What is a PWA? And why does my business need it?
09 februari 2023
A PWA, or a Progressive Web App, is basically a web application but with the functionalities of a mobile app. With a PWA, you build a platform that is device-independent. But why a PWA? What are the pros and cons? And what are the arguments for choosing a PWA as a company? We put it in a nutshell!
What is a Progressive web app?
In the past, when building an application, you had two choices: You built a web application and/or you built a native app. With the latter, you then had to build multiple versions (e.g. iOS and Android) if you wanted to make your app available in multiple app stores.
With a Progressive web app, or PWA for short, that has become a thing of the past. A website built as a PWA can still be visited via the browser, but thanks to an extra piece of code, the website will behave like an app on mobile devices.
So thanks to a PWA, your mobile visitors will enjoy a much more pleasant experience. And the better the user experience, the more positive for your conversion rate!
The benefits of a PWA
Progressive Web Apps offer several benefits that enhance the user experience:
Ease of use
A PWA is much more user-friendly that a native app, because you can start using a PWA right away. You don't have to go to an app store first to download and install the app. You also don't have to regularly update your app afterwards because that happens automatically with a PWA.
The way a PWA is built ensures that all pages are loaded at the beginning of your visit. This increases speed because the browser has to do less while using your website. In addition, a PWA also requires hardly any storage space, which in turn affects the speed of your own mobile device.
A PWA's data is cached on your device. This allows you to keep using the app even when your internet connection is down. New information is always loaded in the background so you always get to see the latest content (until the moment the internet connection is lost). The data collected during your offline use is synchronised as soon as you are back online.
PWA platforms, as opposed to native apps, are SEO proof. Because your app is web-based, Google can always index your PWA and your target audience will therefore find their way to your platform faster.
Building a PWA is cheaper. Simply because you only need 1 codebase instead of multiple codes for different platforms (iOs, Android, ...). And because you only build 1 environment, there is also only 1 environment to maintain. And bonus benefit: with a PWA, you do not have to work through the app stores, which also saves you a lot of time and costs with the rules and approval processes of these providers.
Security high on the agenda
A PWA must meet certain requirements. For instance, a PWA must always have "https". And unlike a native app that is installed on your device, a PWA is web-based. As a result, the app clashes with some device-specific restrictions such as access to contacts, system settings, etc.
So a PWA is an interesting solution if you want to work according to the mobile-first principle and offer your customers the best user experience.
Does PWA have limitations?
As we mentioned above, a PWA is not installed on your device so it does not have access to things like your contacts, calendar, etc. If the app you want to build does need to be able to do these things, opting for a native app or hybrid app may be more interesting.
However, the world of PWA development is not standing still and there are already some APIs bypassing the limitations.
Therefore, take a good look at what the strategy is behind the app and what goals you want to achieve and decide on that basis whether you need a pure native app.
Does my business need a PWA?
Of course, the answer to this question depends on the needs of your business. But, we can tell you that if you are planning to revamp your website or if there is a lot of traffic coming through mobile channels, it is definitely advisable to consider a PWA. Meanwhile, the possibilities with a PWA are already quite wide. For instance, we recently built a PWA for Guardsquare.
Would you like to know more about the possibilities of a PWA in your specific situation? Then be sure to get in touch using the contact form below.
Want to know more about Progressive Web Apps?
The possibilities of PWA in your organisation? We would be happy to look at the possibilities with you.