There is no clear definition of the Progressive Web Application. As per its functionality, it can be defined as a web portal that looks & feels like a mobile application. It gives a mobile application-like experience to the users. It can be downloaded to any device, takes less time to load, sends notifications & can be accessed in an offline mode like a mobile application. In simple terms, it is an application that integrates advantages of a website & mobile application without having the disadvantages of a website like expensive to create & maintain, high loading time, runs on a specific device, etc.
NEED & IMPACT ON THE BUSINESS
There are two main reasons for building a Progressive Web Application. Firstly, the world is moving from the web browser to smartphones at a very rapid pace. The dependence on smartphones has reached an all-time high. Secondly, according to forecasts, by 2021, around 48% of the world’s population will use smartphones.
Most prominent market players like Walmart, Twitter, and Aliexpress have built remarkable Progressive Web Application for their respective businesses. Many companies have reported an increase in revenue growth, conversion rate, customer retention & new customer acquisition after the launch of their PWAs. That’s the reason why more & more companies are trying to enter our smartphones by creating their Progressive Web Application.
BUILDING A PWA
Building a Progressive Web Application will have a long term impact on the company’s revenue, customer base & growth. Being the latest trend in the web world, the developers having the required skills & experience are very limited. It requires a considerable investment. Whether to build a Progressive Web Application is like any other strategic decision which is taken by the company. Such a decision cannot be taken in a single day. A lot of factors need to be considered before a company decides to have a PWA.
Answer these questions before you proceed
- Does your business have an existing website or mobile application:-
Progressive Web Application is the latest trend in the online market. Google claims it to be the future of the web. Before the introduction of Progressive Web Application, companies used to have websites or traditional mobile applications for their online presence. The company needs to decide whether it wants to continue with the existing website or application or wants to scrape it & develop a Progressive Web Application from scratch. Converting the existing website or application into a Progressive Web Application is not an easy task. It is always a good idea to develop a Progressive Web Application from scratch. In case the company already has a website or application. It means it must have gone through the expensive, lengthy & complicated & time-consuming process of developing & maintaining it till date. A company may choose not to scrape its existing website. On the contrary, it may also choose to scrape the existing website for developing a PWA.
Moreover, the company can also decide to have both the options, the PWA & the existing website or mobile application. One such company is Pinterest. It has decided to have both the options, PWA & the existing mobile application. The company needs to evaluate the cost & benefits of all the available options & make a wise decision.
- Which platform your business wants to cater to?
Before the arrival of Progressive Web Application technology, businesses used to focus on both mobile & web platforms for their online presence. The Progressive Web Application technology aims to improve the overall experience of a user browsing through a website by incorporating the features of the mobile application. PWA technology focuses more on mobile devices. The big question before the businesses is to decide whether the existing websites should be upgraded to make it easily accessible through smartphones or to develop a PWA from scratch. The business should consider the fact that as per forecasts, 48% of the world population will be smartphone users by the year 2021, to decide whether they still want to continue with existing traditional websites or build PWA.
- How does the user want to access the application?
Users download a mobile application from the app store & access PWA on the web browser through a link that is shared with them or through the website. Does the business need to decide how it wants the user to access its application?
There are many terms & conditions that need to be completed before the mobile application gets listed on the app store. Even after listing the app, keeping it on top of the search results is a different matter that requires constant expenditure & monitoring by the business. On the other hand, if the business already has a broad base of target users & finds app listing & post listing requirements on the app store to be more difficult, it can choose to have a PWA.
- Can your business do without the advanced features of a mobile application?
The Progressive Web Application is compatible only with limited features such as proximity sensors. Many advanced features cannot be incorporated in a Progressive Web Application. Some of these features are such as fingerprint scanner, face recognition, advanced camera settings, audio/video recording, Bluetooth, etc. A business that is evaluating whether to have a PWA or not should ask for the complete list of features that cannot be incorporated in a Progressive Web Application. Business needs to assess whether it can work without these features. If yes, then the business can decide to build a Progressive Web Application.
- How will you find experienced developers?
Progressive Web Application is the latest technology in the online world. So there is no or little existing data or knowledge about building a Progressive Web Application. Developers have the required knowledge & skill to build a website or a mobile application. There are no experienced developers who can build PWA. As a result, developers need to learn to build a Progressive Web Application from scratch. Businesses desirous of building a PWA, first need to build a team of experienced developers. The availability of knowledge & experienced developers will take some time. Business needs to consider this waiting time in deciding whether to build PWA or not.
- Where to develop the PWA?
The business should assess the capabilities of its development team to decide whether to develop Progressive Web Application in-house or not. The cost of developing Progressive Web Application in-house also includes the cost of making its development team aware of the new processes & techniques for building PWA. On the other hand, if the business does not have a capable development team, it can outsource the development of PWA to an experienced developer. The business should carefully examine the capabilities of its development team & external developer to decide either to build PWA in-house or outsource its development.
James Grills is a technical writer with a passion for writing on emerging technologies in the areas of mobile application development and IoT technology. He is a marketing advisor – currently associated with Cumulations Technologies a mobile app development company in India.