In the fast-changing digital world, it’s hard to keep up with upcoming technologies, techniques, and software solutions. We don’t want marketers, agencies, or developers to lose track and want to provide the knowledge of our highly experienced team to everyone interested.
In our series “Frontastic explains,” our Lead Editor Catherine sums up the meaning and the impact of the biggest buzzwords of the digital world.
Today we talk about Progressive Web Apps, or short: PWA.
What is a PWA?
PWA stands for Progressive Web App. It’s a way of making a website that looks and behaves like an App that you would download on your phone. But you don’t have to download it, and it’s not just for your phone. You can use it on any of your devices, and it doesn’t matter if you use Apple, Google, Microsoft, or anything else.
So why would you want to make a PWA? For your users, they have a great experience using your website. It’s fast-loading, it transitions smoothly between pages, they don’t have to wait for those pages to load. They can even view it offline or full screen, as well as installing a bookmark icon on their home screen for easy access.
You can push notifications to it, and it gets recognized and listed by search engines, which normal apps aren’t.
Developers love them too. Once a PWA version has been released, developers can make any changes to the code, and the PWA can be updated instantly. Developers don’t have to release a new version of an app or wait for users to download that release. They can also write one version of the code instead of writing for different devices or different operating systems, which can be complex and take a lot of time and resources.
So there’s a lot of benefits to a PWA, not just for your business but for your users too.
PWA: Instant distribution, easy to update
A PWA has exactly the look and feel of an app and behaves like an app, too.
But make no mistake: Progressive Web Applications are still websites. They just look and feel like an app, thanks to modern web technology. Customers get the experience of using an app right on their browser, without the need to download and install. Being like an app doesn’t mean a PWA is limited to mobile devices. Instead, they can be implemented on desktop as well. If you’ve ever browsed Instagram, Pinterest, or Tinder on your laptop, then congratulations! You’ve encountered some of the most successful adopters of PWA on the web.
A PWA is also super fast when browsing different pages of a single website. This is because a page view event only happens once when a user initially loads the website.
So how does this work? Well, take a look at the active tab on your browser. If the site is a PWA, when you change pages the site doesn’t reload, meaning there’s no loading animation on the browser tab.
The site doesn’t reload when you change pages! Technically, you’re just staying on one page the whole time. That’s why PWA pages load so fast and smooth. All the pages are pre-loaded the first time you visit the site and delivered to you afterward. They’re not dependent on your network speed, and can even work offline!
Conclusion: Why choose a PWA to improve customer experience?
Once a PWA is built, it can be accessed via any mobile platform like Android, iOS, or Windows, since PWAs are browser-based, not OS-based.
Changes made to a PWA will take effect immediately, as soon as users refresh the page.
Because a PWA is still technically a website, its content can be indexed and discoverable on search engines like Google. This opens up opportunities for Search Engine Optimization practices, which enables PWA to reach a larger base of users compared to a native app.
Use case: How CHRONEXT created a fast and flexible solution with Frontastic
As one of the biggest retail platforms of luxury watches, CHRONEXT needed to be able to quickly and easily change various elements of its online shop. With a Monolithic architecture, it was impossible to make these updates without needing multiple teams to do the work, costing them valuable time and money.
Frontastic was the right solution for CHRONEXT because it meant that they could change to a Microservices architecture where they could utilize multiple systems, with Frontastic powering the frontend delivered as an impressive PWA. It also empowered all their teams to be able to work with fewer dependencies on each other and allowed them to focus on their specialized roles within CHRONEXT, giving them the flexibility to change and adapt to any future needs.
Read the full success story here.
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Catherine’s the Lead Editor at Frontastic. She’s worked in many different positions at different levels but always with a customer focus and is always looking to create the best experience for users.