Progressive Web Apps Blur Lines Between Sites and Apps- Should Your Brand Consider One?

As companies in all industries are working tirelessly to create seamless end-to-end user experiences, many brands have turned to native apps or responsive web design to offer their users that consistent experience across all devices. However, recently a strong case for upgrading those experiences to a Progressive Web App has started to take center stage. Those looking to take a competitive edge in their markets are taking note and many have already made moves or started a strategy to update to this powerful app-like browsing experience.

A Quick History on Responsive Web Design and Native Apps

Responsive web design (RWD) is basically a trimmed down version of a desktop site, but that leaves much to be desired for the user. Users are unable to tap into smartphone features like a camera, microphone, and GPA-based services. RWD also increases load times of sites because the code is the same as that displayed on the desktop version, which can lead it to quickly drain data.

Native Apps on the other hand can utilize the smartphones capabilities, but can create a hefty initial investment and have to be loaded onto a user’s device- something many people don’t want to do. Not to mention that getting listed in an app store can be a long process with no assurance your app will be accepted for listing or downloaded by the right people.

That's Where PWA's Come In.

To date, we know that the two most popular types of mobile experiences that most people use are either Responsive Web Design (RWD) or Native apps that are installed on a user’s device through an app store like Apple’s App Store. Just like most things in technology, capabilities and options are expanding and evolving. So what is a PWA? To simply describe a progressive web app would be to say it doesn't look like you're in the browser, it looks like an application- but you are indeed in a browser.

At Echidna, we think PWA’s are undeniably the future, offering a powerful app-like browsing experience, but without the hassle of a Native App and the extended capabilities RWD doesn't offer. Resolving many of the pain points with RWD and Native Apps, they come in and offer a reliable, fast and engaging experience right on the web.

Should You Consider a PWA Just Yet?

When clients come to us to discuss their options, we look at a few items to help recommend the best route for them. Some considerations include:

-If >50% of your web traffic is from mobile or >25% of your online orders already from mobile it could make sense to move to a PWA.

-If you organization hasn’t yet moved to a responsive web design or is contemplating an investment in a native mobile app, you should consult with the team at Echidna to understand all your options, requirements, and if a progressive web app could potentially be a more viable option in order to offer you customers the best end-to-end user experience as well as become future-ready.

-Lastly, if you are looking for a front-end site refresh it could be a wise way to invest your dollars to consider shifting to a PWA.

Whatever the reason, keep PWA on your radar because the benefits of PWAs are large and you’ll quickly start seeing the early adopters like Sephora and Wyndham Hotels and Resorts outpacing their outpacing their competitors. Contact Echidna to discuss creating your seamless customer experience today.

Start by Requesting a User Experience Audit.