What are progressive web apps (PWAs) ?

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Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are entering the market as a new delivery format in a mobile-driven world. They hold benefits for businesses, publishers and users alike.

In order to fully understand the context in which PWAs are integrated, let’s take note of some facts and mobile usage.

Facts and Mobile Usage

The number of searches on mobiles and tablets has been increasing in France in recent years and the number of desktop searches has therefore been decreasing. In June 2017, the Smartphone was the most used device to connect to the Internet (42%) surpassing the computer (38%).

Nowadays, accessing the Internet via mobile phones is carried out through:

  • Either via a browser,
  • Or via an application.

Browser usage findings

  • You must enter a URL to access the site.
  • The site must be responsive.
  • Without Internet connection, the site does not appear.
  • When the page takes too long to load dropout rate is high.

Application usage findings (Android or iOS platforms)

  • You must first download the application to use it.
  • 2 out of 10 users do not use the application after downloading it.
  • Out of 4 applications downloaded, only 1 is actually used later.

Google Rewrites the Maps

Mobile indexing first

From then on, the content of the mobile site will be used more and more often by Google for indexing. From then on, in the search results (SERP Search Engine Result Page), Google will display the results of pages in mobile version. Mobile pages and desktop pages will therefore be filed together. From then on, the Google index is primarily considered mobile and desktop secondarily.

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

Launched in 2016, Google now wants to make its AMP technology standard. AMP accelerates the loading speed of web pages on mobiles, which greatly reduces the dropout rate. AMP content meets a set of mobile performance criteria.

Mobile First Concept

Mobile first is a concept that consists of thinking about site design in mobile version as a priority. It is from the mobile version that the site is gradually adapted for tablet and desktop. The mobile experience is more ergonomic and fluid.

Progressive Web Apps

Progressive Web Apps are websites that appear to mobile users in the same way as a native mobile application (Android, iOS).

PWAs are intended to provide an experience similar to that on traditional mobile applications (technically, they are based on standard languages: HTML, CSS and JS). The concept and term of Progressive Web Apps comes from Google, which has also established a list of features that PWAs must respect.

PWAs, how do they work?

They are viewed as a normal website from a URL. The PWA is free from the constraints of mobile applications, such as: responding to the constraints and rules of storage or being memory hungry. The development costs related to the various platforms (iOS and Android) no longer exist, since PWAs can be consulted from a web browser.

How do PWAs deliver the same user experience as native iOS and Android apps?

It is possible to use the phone’s native features in a PWA, such as geolocation, camera, video camera, microphone, vibration, battery status, Bluetooth, etc.

Multiple benefits for users and businesses:

• PWAs are referenced on Google: whether it is SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or SEA (Search Engine Advertising), the PWA is indexed by search engines (obviously, it cannot be referenced on Google Play or the Apple Store).

• PWAs use push notifications: it is possible to send push notifications (through a specific API or SaaS solution).

• PWAs can be directly installed on Smartphones & are directly accessible via the desktop: the application is accessible via a shortcut on the desktop. It runs like a classic application outside the browser. It supports full-screen display in portrait and landscape mode.

• PWAs load quickly: a PWA uses traditional page loading techniques (browser cache, GZIP compression, etc.) On the first visit, the user interface will be cached. For the next page, only the content will be loaded, it is the same operation as for a native application.

• PWAs function without an Internet connection: the techniques dedicated to speed up page loading also make it possible to operate PWAs in offline mode.

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