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Progressive Web Apps (PWA) are hugely popular. So it’s not for nothing that we recently named them this technology as one of the trends for 2021. The reason for the popularity of Progressive Web Apps has everything to do with the widespread use of our smartphones. For example, nearly 3 quarters of all e-commerce consists of mobile e-commerce. Web shops and web pages are therefore primarily visited via a smartphone, rather than a desktop or tablet.

In fact, with a Progressive Web App, you are capitalizing on increasing smartphone usage. In fact, a PWA is a responsive website, giving the web page the look and experience of a native app. In the process, Progressive Web Apps are accessible to everyone and lightning fast, even without an Internet connection.

How exactly and what else can a Progressive Web App do? What are the advantages of a PWA and are there any disadvantages? You can read all about it here.

What exactly is a Progressive Web App?

So a Progressive Web App is not a native app, but a Web app. Actually, you can think of a PWA as a website that behaves like a native app. So here, mobile use of the website is central, and you notice that in the user experience. For example, a PWA can use your cell phone’s features such as the camera, microphone and GPS.

The user experience is basically similar to that of an app. The big difference is that it is not an app from the app store, but a web page you reach through the browser. A PWA allows you to use much of the functionality you are used to from a native app in a web app. Think, for example, of requesting a location or sending push notifications. Note that iPhone does not currently support sending push messages via a PWA.

But, how exactly does a PWA work?

How does a Progressive Web App work?

Whereas normally for every user action a data request is sent to the server, in the case of a PWA all data is already loaded during the first request. This progressive way of loading data therefore explains the name: Progressive Web App. This method allows a PWA to function as a native app, even without an Internet connection. Moreover, this significantly reduces the load time, making a PWA feel very fast for the user.

Woman stands outside and uses a phone

In addition to the positive impact of a Progressive Web App on the user experience, PWAs also have a positive impact in terms of SEO. In fact, thanks to the fast loading time, visitors stay on the website more. In fact, web page speed is an important factor in ranking higher in the search engines. Moreover, data from Google show that 53% of visitors to a mobile website leave it again if the load time is more than 3 seconds. So a fast load time is very important for your website and a Progressive Web App certainly contributes to that.

Benefits of a Progressive Web App

Besides speed and the ability to be used offline, a Progressive Web App has other advantages.

  1. No app installation
    Because a Progressive Web App is actually a Web page, it does not need to be downloaded and installed from an app store first. So this also means that developers are not dependent on the rules in place in the app stores. In addition, a Progressive Web App removes the barrier of downloading and allows users to get started right away.
  2. Great reach with a PWA
    Because Progressive Web Apps are simply accessible through the browser, the reach is greater than that of a native app. Moreover, PWAs work on any browser and are accessible on desktop, tablets and cell phones alike.
  3. Progressive Web Apps do not need to be updated
    Unlike an app from the app store, a Progressive Web App does not need to be updated. Simply because it is a web page. As a result, users always have an up-to-date app, provided they have the PWA loaded on their cell phone.
  4. Cheaper than a nativeapp
    The development cost of a Progressive Web App is generally lower than the cost of developing a native app.
    This is mainly because it takes less time to develop. Moreover, thanks to a Progressive Web App, you have a website and app in one. Having it developed separately is obviously more expensive, so choosing a PWA will save you costs.

Disadvantages of a Progressive Web App

In addition to the advantages, there are some disadvantages of Progressive Web Apps.

  1. Not findable the app stores
    The advantage of not having to download a PWA first can be a disadvantage at the same time. Because a Progressive Web App is not in the app store, there is also no way to apply app marketing in the app store, for example. In addition, a PWA is not among the other apps on the home screen, so it must first be opened through the browser.

Girl with red dress uses a tablet

Tip: add a web page shortcut to your home screen, this way you can quickly find and open a PWA.

  1. Not all features are available
    Unlike a native app, not all cell phone features are available for a Progressive Web App. Whereas in a PWA it is possible to use GPS, for example, it is not possible to access contacts and bluetooth or NFC. Also, features such as Touch ID or Face ID and Siri are not currently available within a Progressive Web App.

YouTube is also now installable as a Progressive Web App

Many major tech companies use Progressive Web Apps, including YouTube. For example, since this year it has been possible to install YouTube as a PWA in Chrome OS and Windows. This makes it possible, after installation, to place YouTube as a web app in the start menu or attach it to the taskbar.

A custom Progressive Web App

Want to have a fast website or web shop developed with a good user experience for mobile use? Or do you notice that your website is most frequently visited via a smartphone and want to capitalize on this? Then a Progressive Web App is a good choice. Feel free to contact us and we at Brthrs will be happy to look at the possibilities with you.

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