The global digital ecosystem has a growing footprint of software applications running on a huge array of mobile platforms. Going by statistics, out of a 4.2 billion active internet users worldwide in October 2018, around 3.9 billion use mobile phones to access the internet (Source: Statista.com.) This highlights the important role mobile applications play in bringing the fruits of the digital revolution to the end user.
The growing demand for mobile applications has led businesses to engage mobile development services that are mostly time consuming and cost intensive. Furthermore, given the humongous size of mobile applications, users can carry only a limited number of them in their smartphones. So, is there a way to have mobile based applications that are easy and cost effective to build while extremely light in terms of memory space requirement? The answer is in the form of Progressive Web Applications.
What are Progressive Web Applications or PWAs?
These are web applications that can be accessed as normal websites but offer the functionalities of mobile applications. These functionalities can include working offline, sending notifications, caching and others. Adding PWAs to the mobile as an application is a simple process – just visit the specific website on a browser and click on the prompted message ‘ add to the home screen.’ The best part of using the PWAs is that they take considerably less memory space vis-a-vis a mobile application.
How PWAs are better than responsive websites?
Search engines like Google have given primacy to mobile responsiveness of a website as far as indexing is concerned. This is due to the growing usage of the mobile platform to access the internet and the search engine’s attempt to enhance the user experience of mobile users. The Mobile first indexing methodology implemented by Google (and other search engines) has led to the development of responsive websites. Consequently, businesses or website development services have gone about optimizing websites for the mobile platform. Thus, a responsive website offers the user friendliness of a normal website on a mobile device.
Even though a responsive website offers the mobile user with an enhanced user experience, it can come a cropper when you are offline. Yes, as a user you can view a responsive website on your mobile till it is connected to the internet. This is where the PWAs score over responsive websites in a big way. Since PWAs function as defacto mobile applications, they can be viewed offline (read the viewed pages) with most of the functionalities offered by mobile applications.
Why should you choose PWAs over mobile applications?
The digital world is majorly driven by mobile applications. These applications are extremely user friendly and offer a host of benefits to the users that websites cannot. In fact, businesses, big or small, have realized the importance of building mobile applications to expand their market reach and enhance their value proposition. However, this is not the end of the story, for mobile applications too have their share of woes. Let us discuss how PWAs score over mobile applications.
Cost advantage: Building a mobile application includes developing versions for both Android and iOS operating platforms. This increases the cost of development not to speak of the time consumed. A progressive web application, on the other hand, requires the development of the web application alone. Thus, in a competitive business scenario where companies are looking to cut input costs without sacrificing the deliverables, progressive web applications easily score over native mobile applications by a mile.
Take less memory space: A typical mobile application occupies a large swathe of memory in your mobile (in megabytes). This is due to the fact that a mobile application needs the presence of a host of programs to be able to function to its optimum. Thus, as a user, you can store only a few mobile apps given its memory intensive requirements. However, as opposed to a mobile app’s increased demand on a limited memory space, a progressive web application takes only a few kilobytes on your mobile to get installed and function effectively. This is due to the fact that WPAs only need a few cached files to run on a mobile.
Easy access to updates: For mobile applications, the updates, if any, are needed to be downloaded onto your smartphones, which is time consuming as well as eat up a significant portion of the memory space. However, in the case of WPAs, the updates are stored in the server alone and it is only a link that is accessed by your smartphone.
“Progressive Web Applications is a mask (read frontend) that gives you the experience of a real mobile application (frontend and backend).”
With businesses facing increased competition, reaching out to customers entails cutting the input costs without compromising the user experience. This is where progressive web applications can be of help due to their inherent advantages over mobile applications. To be a step ahead of your competitors, it is time you developed progressive web applications to increase your brand visibility and market outreach. Hence, hire professional developers from a website development company to stay competitive and achieve your business objectives.