Progressive Web App (PWA): Web Pages Turned Mobile
A Progressive Web App (PWA) is a web application rather than a mobile application. The main distinction is that a PWA can be manipulated online from any browser.
The Progressive Web App concept, which was introduced in 2015, is based on two key elements:
- The manifest: this is the application description file (application name, icon, the first navigation page, the splash screen customization, etc.)
The Benefits of Progressive Web Apps
Progressive Web Apps have demonstrated a number of advantages since their inception:
- SEO-friendly: unlike mobile applications, PWAs can be indexed by Google. This improves search engine rankings and increases visitor numbers.
- Independence from official stores: a PWA eliminates the need to go through official stores (Apple Store, Google Play, etc.). This can avoid time-consuming processes (e.g., Apple validation).
- Easy to implement: Progressive Web Apps are extremely simple to set up. They do not require any development or specific mobile technical knowledge.
- Widespread availability: PWAs are available across all mobile and desktop platforms.
- Broad coverage: since PWAs are supported by most browsers, they can reach the majority of users, providing extensive coverage in terms of market share.
- Reduced installation space: PWAs require less space to install than traditional applications
- Work offline: the cache means that PWAs can be used even when not connected to the internet.
- No reliance on application updates: unlike traditional applications, updates can be pushed directly to the user because they are just web pages. This eliminates the need to provide support for multiple versions.
The Disadvantages of Progressive Web Apps
Despite the tangible benefits provided by PWAs, there are still some drawbacks to consider.
Firstly, access to PWAs is restricted to the capabilities of modern smartphones. They are also browser/OS-dependent, which means they may behave very differently from one user to the next, particularly on older devices whose versions are no longer supported. Use of the HTTPS protocol is also essential. This requires the acquisition of a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate. Another barrier is that Progressive Web Apps do not support in-app purchases.
Finally, it should be noted that PWAs consume more of the smartphone’s battery power.
Cellenza’s Recommendations for Using PWAs
A Progressive Web App is no substitute for a mobile application. It meets different needs. We recommend using this technology for one-time needs, such as event planning.
PWAs can also be a great way of introducing clients to mobile use before redirecting them to an actual mobile application.
The PWA is also relevant for applications that do not meet the guidelines of public stores but are not yet mature enough for a private store.
Consider the case of Starbucks. Starbucks also uses its PWA application to expand into emerging markets.
PWA Case Study
A contract catering company commissioned the implementation of various training tools as part of its digitalization and to meet its statutory obligations.
Its workforce lacked a digital identity, which was required to access training catalogs and other online tools. This group was also not provided with standard equipment.
Cellenza was tasked with designing and implementing a mobile application for creating digital identities and managing access to tools based on the users’ roles and responsibilities.
A multi-device application was developed and deployed. It was made available as a PWA to make it more user-friendly.
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