Progressive web apps – often shortened simply to PWAs – have come to the forefront over the last few years. They differ from standard mobile apps because they offer universal access as well. In other words, while a mobile app can only be accessed from a mobile device, PWAs are available from any device. Aside from this, there are also differences in the specific functions of these two options as well.
The question is, how does a PWA relate to a mobile app? Do these new programs take the place of traditional apps or are they another medium that runs alongside them?
Knowing exactly what a PWA offers compared to other programs such as mobile apps will help you incorporate it into your business’ marketing strategy. It will also help business owners to create an idea of what the business’ PWA could offer their consumers.
Apps aren’t typically what comes up in a generic internet search. These results favor websites over apps. Because PWAs are recognized in the same way traditional websites are, they’re more likely to show up in a search rather than a company’s app. PWAs are also great for SEO because they tend to load faster and work on a wider range of platforms than a standard website.
One of the first things that users will notice on a PWA vs. a mobile app is that PWAs typically load faster. According to PWAStats, when Tinder developed at a PWA compared to their Android mobile app, they saw their load times lower from 11.91 seconds to 4.69 seconds.
Among the biggest reasons for this is that PWAs are smaller. In Tinder’s case, their PWA is 90% smaller than their Android app. This makes it easier for a device to load, even when an internet connection is sparse. It should be noted that when a progressive web app development company creates a PWA, they don’t achieve this smaller content size by cutting out important functional features. Companies aren’t going to need to worry about trading speed for something less helpful or convenient for consumers.
These load times aren’t only initial either. This speed also helps ensure smooth scrolling and quick transition while the PWA is in use.
PWAs differ from mobile apps because they don’t require users to download software from an app store. Instead, PWAs are accessed through a browser.
Initially, this seems like it comes with more negative effects than positive ones. For example, without a downloaded app, consumers don’t necessarily see a logo sitting on their home screen when they open their phone. However, options such as setting the PWA to the user’s home page help to counteract these disadvantages.
Not having to go through the app store can also give app developers and companies more freedom. There isn’t as much administrative overhead, allowing creators to get more creative with their design methods without worrying about adapting to a set of administrative standards.
Mobile apps are limited because they only work on mobile devices. Oftentimes, they are also additional limitations such as an app being restricted to iOS or Android devices. Websites, on the other hand, don’t always function the way they should on a mobile device. PWAs are made to operate on a more universal standard, so users get the same experience no matter if they’re on their laptop, phone, tablet, or almost any other device.
PWAs are, for the time being, a great way to stand out from the competition. Native app development is an overflowing market and they’re difficult to really highlight in the app store. PWAs, since they’re considered more “cutting edge” and offer different benefits, can stand out much more easily.
Of course, nothing is completely perfect and to truly compare mobile apps and PWAs, it’s important to consider any downfalls that might come with PWAs. Interestingly, many of these arguments against PWAs have counter-arguments against them.
The biggest example is that many worry about the battery usage associated with the use of PWAs. This comes from the concern that the use of “higher level” programming languages translates into the use of more CPU, thus draining the user’s battery faster. Fortunately, most developers take measures to ensure that users aren’t struggling with this significant downside.
PWAs hold a lot of potential. Even when it comes to their disadvantages, it’s best to remember that this is still a fairly new technological concept. This means that not only are these promising right now, but they’re likely to grow and improve in the coming years as well. They’re gaining ground quickly, though, thanks to their versatility and accessibility. Much like mobile apps have gained ground over websites, the universal nature of PWAs is likely to give apps a run for their money in the future.