When it first became possible to go mobile, people were excited. Carrying the power of the Internet in your pocket was mind-blowing. Businesses responded to this enthusiasm, asking their web developers to build separate mobile websites that would be graphically manageable on a tablet or phone. These early mobile sites suffered from slow loading and connectivity issues, and before long, native apps offered a tempting alternative.
The Apple App store opened in 2008, only one year after the first iPhone launch. Both mobile web and native app technology continued to develop along parallel but separate paths, and abundant “Native vs. Mobile Web” comparisons sprouted up within tech forums and publications.
Each of these options meets a different set of functional needs, and dual approaches, for a while, seemed cumbersome. But it’s the nature of technology to resolve double pathways and to discover a single integrated channel, moving forward. Starting about three years ago, that integration began to happen. The unifying technology is called a progressive web app (PWA). And with its early-stage kinks straightened out, it’s trending in a major way.
There are several ways in which PWAs promote the convenience of a regular mobile website:
PWAs also behave like native apps in several crucial ways. Here are a few:
If you substitute a PWA for your current dual digital presence, every user gets the benefit of both sets of functionality. Someone who lands on your PWA for the first time will immediately have a deeply engaging experience. Even users who would never consider going to the app store and downloading native apps — and there are a lot of people in that category — will be able to have an equivalent experience. Additionally, you’ll reaching your audience on whatever device they happen to be using, offering a high-quality, personalized experience.
Until recently, our physical infrastructure couldn’t have supported progressive web apps. On the the mobile phone side, PWAs rely on ever-increasing processing speed and diversified functionality. The improved wireless infrastructure is also important because it allows for rapid transmission speed and reduced latency. Now that we have these factors moving forward, at speed, it’s easier to go progressive.
Personalization is a big part of what consumers crave, and PWAs deliver a personal user experience without the friction of having to go to an app store and download a native app. With the Forbes PWA, for example, the user can specify what topics they’re interested in, and only relevant content appears, going forward. Speed is also a vital element for users, and PWAs load significantly faster than mobile sites.
Online leaders achieve their success by always being ready to embrace vital new technologies. Recently, some of these leaders have shared some exciting results after transitioning to PWA experiences. A few examples:
The catchy PWA tune helps drown the “native app vs mobile web” noise. If you’re interested in exploring a powerfully engaging, cost-effective method of connecting with your users, a PWA is a solution worth the investment.