Why Top Brands Shift to Progressive Web Apps

Shifting tides lead ships
Lauren Palazzo

Director of Marketing

Lauren Palazzo

Progressive Web Applications (PWAs) are becoming more prevalent as the tech world continues to invest in them. Today, Chrome and Opera fully support PWAs, while Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Apple iOS are making strides in offering greater support for PWA technology.

This growing support for PWAs is being driven by demands from leading brands looking to make the most of their capabilities. Joining the likes of Facebook and Pinterest, which both use PWAs, Twitter recently invested heavily in making its main site a responsive PWA to create a faster user experience with an enhanced interface. Similarly, media powerhouses such as the BBC, The Washington Post, and Forbes, also have debuted PWAs to deliver their content more seamlessly across users and various device types, from desktops to mobile phones.

PWAs combine the best features and capabilities of native mobile apps and websites. Today, they are emerging as a key part of innovative digital product development strategies implemented by leading organizations across a range of industries — from financial services to healthcare to retail and e-commerce. PWAs are responsive websites that help organizations create more advanced digital experiences while simultaneously reducing development effort and cost.

So why are top brands making the switch to Progressive Web Apps?

  1. Rising consumer expectations: Consumers have little patience for brands that deliver mediocre digital experiences. With an abundance of options at their fingertips, customers can quickly move on to another company if they experience underwhelming brand interactions. Both Pinterest and Starbucks saw a notable lift in engagement metrics when they launched PWAs. Pinterest had a 60% jump in mobile engagement with faster page loads, while Starbucks’ PWA was built to manage ordering over the web and is now favored among customers over the coffee company’s native app.

  2. Native action in the web browser: PWAs offer a consistent and responsive experience across all devices. They load like a typical website but with several advanced capabilities of native mobile apps, including the ability to be added to device home screens with one touch, to work offline, and to enable push notifications. They also offer advantages of websites, such as discoverability by search engines and the ability to be accessible from all modern web browsers. In addition, PWAs can appear alongside native mobile apps in the App Store and Google Play.

  3. Reduced resources and spending through simplified coding: PWAs require only one code base to deliver a website and mobile app-like experience across devices and browsers. This means planning for, designing, developing, and maintaining both a website and mobile app-like experience requires only one team, one tech stack, one test strategy, and one digital product roadmap. PWAs not only minimize product strategy, design, development, and maintenance costs, they also save organizations money by enabling faster deployment of new features and bug fixes.

  4. Desire to build today for tomorrow’s innovations: Innovative brands recognize that technology is evolving at an unprecedented pace, and to avoid rapid cycles of strategy, design, development, and re-build for digital solutions, they need to deploy more future-forward technologies. Progressive Web Apps are inherently flexible and constantly evolving to meet the latest device and technology feature enhancements. If you rewrite a legacy website or native mobile application as a PWA today, it will work as intended for years to come. PWAs are built for change, meaning organizations can stop investing in one-off websites and mobile apps that will inevitably require redesigns to meet changing audience demands and technologies.

With the continued emergence of PWAs, more consumers will simultaneously reap the rewards of applications that continually adapt to meet evolving customer needs and expectations.

I’m keeping my eyes peeled for the next major brand to leverage the power of PWAs. Subscribe below for DockYard’s ongoing analysis of Progressive Web Application updates and launches.

DockYard is a digital product agency offering custom software, mobile, and web application development consulting. We provide exceptional professional services in strategy, user experience, design, and full stack engineering using Ember.js and Elixir. With a nationwide staff, we’ve got consultants in key markets across the United States, including Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago, Austin, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston.


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