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Improve User Experience with Progressive Web Applications

Audiences around the world have grown more selective with their screen time, and it is evident now that only the best user experiences earn the most attention, downloads, and clicks—and the users tend to leave the apps quicker or close apps and websites that are slow, glitchy or unresponsive. Progressive web apps seems to be the ultimate answer to all of these needs making your user’s web experience much more appealing and valuable for the target audience.

Progressive Web Applications (PWA) are web-based solutions that blend in the best of both worlds; the native mobile apps and traditional website to offer a consistent, superior user experience across all connected devices and internet speeds. In contrast to the classic Web Apps, PWA use modern technologies to provide functionalities such as offline capability, the reception of push messages or mechanisms for optimized data loading. This removes the disadvantage of the “permanent online obligation” that is the limitation with the classic Web Apps.

PWA basically is an application that is executed within a browser’s engine. It is done so by implementing the use of established web technologies – HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript. With the assistance of manifest and the use of service workers, the web app behaves like a native application on the device it is accessed from.

In the case of web app manifest, the appearance of an app is dependent on a JSON (Java Script Object Notation). The manifest consists of multiple parameters, such as the name and icon the app will have and its corresponding behavior.

In addition to its other fantastic features, a PWA has an “Add-To-Homescreen” option. The shortcut icon of the app can be placed on the home screen.

A PWA not only helps businesses attract more traffic on their websites by improving performance in organic searches but also engages website visitors to keep them on the website longer, improving the chances they turn into new sales leads and eventually into completed transactions.

Owing to the benefits of higher conversion rates, much improved customer engagement, shortened page load time, and much lower costs on development and overheads the PWA are still extremely popular with the businesses and developers alike.

Optimizing a Progressive Web App (PWA)

Defining the App Strategy

Mapping out how an app wants to address its users with different types of end devices is the crux of an app strategy. This contains parameters like performance, data storage and specifics of the internet connection. This makes it possible for a PWA to set the standards for a low end device and alternatively present all possibilities when accessed from a more powerful device.

Using Performance Observer interface the performance of the used devices can be probed, aligned and controlled. In addition to the performance of the end device, the battery status could also be checked, whether a background sync is started or an update of the app is carried out.

The cache strategy is also part of app strategy which outlines when a content is fetched from the server and at what time data is loaded from the cache. The cache strategy for a PWA can be made reliant on the available quality of the internet connection, i.e. speed or available network. Additionally creating a checkpoint to validate the possibly activated data saving mode on the user’s smartphone allowing the user’s preferences to be taken into account.

Discoverable Through Search

Another key feature that makes a PWA stand out from the crown of native applications is that PWA acts as a website; ergo all search engines can index a PWA allowing the back-end developers to deploy SEO strategies making the content much more discoverable.

Each URL in a PWA should have an exclusive, descriptive title along with its meta description, which acts as the baseline of any SEO activity.

Moreover, Google has a specialized tool in its Search Console that can analyze a PWA as a website and report the results which can be used to run a preliminary scan and uncover any weak links that can be amended.

Smart Permission Requests

Non-interfering push notifications, subtle permission requests and giving the user an option to unsubscribe from messages go a long way in creating a much favorable user experience, especially when the users, in general, are annoyed by overbearing app notifications. Notifications and Chatbots are mainly the two most common tools of automated communications. Notifications require the user’s permission as opposed to Chatbots but are much more visible.

The gap between the conventional native apps and truly progressive apps will continue to close, primarily because PWA is becoming almost the first option and a standard practice for website developers, world over. By all indications apps and websites we will be using in the future will be a hybrid setting of native software applications and web-based technologies like PWAs, built to leverage the distinct advantages that each technology has to offer to not just developers but users as well.


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