The Mobile Web is Dead. Long Live the Mobile Web.

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Woman using credit card on mobile phone

These days, “the web” is often synonymous with the mobile web. So why aren’t more websites designed for optimal mobile performance?

More and more people are accessing websites through browsers on mobile devices. Those mobile sites are responsive: Users don’t have to pinch and expand their screens to see content, but that’s where mobile convenience typically ends. Often mobile sites still lack capabilities that allow users to interact and engage with businesses. Native apps, once the answer to the inconvenience of mobile sites, while still popular, are not retaining users as expected.

But there’s a better way to design and build for mobile users, and keep them engaged with your brand: Progressive Web Applications.

PWAs offer the best features of mobile browsing and native apps, while taking advantage of the latest device capabilities. Whether a user is on a mobile phone, tablet, or computer, a PWA can deliver optimal performance with the best aspects of website experiences and the intuitive feel and features of a native app.

No Longer a Missing Link: PWAs Capture the Mobile Audience

While users spend the majority of their mobile minutes inside native mobile apps, these metrics are concentrated in a handful of social media apps (read, Facebook). The rest browse the web on their phones, pulling up Google and other websites to look up information, find a fun place to go, or shop on a retail site. These users are typically not hunting for new native apps to download.

Organizations that rely on mobile sites to capture and engage audiences are missing out on potential users and customers if their sites aren’t loading fast enough or providing a fluid experience.

Because PWAs have URLs, users will find them through search engines. As a link, PWAs can be ranked through SEO best practices to be found more easily. Companies that develop their sites as PWAs can strategically determine how best to reach their audiences through targeted keywords and optimized content.

PWA Functionality

After users find PWAs, they can benefit from thoughtful, engaging experiences that can keep them returning, thanks to several key, advanced technologies that can make Progressive Web Applications a cost-effective, elegant step up from mobile websites:

  • Service workers: Using cache to load site assets significantly increases PWA speed.
  • Web APIs: Integration means PWAs can implement push notifications, camera, geolocation, BlueTooth, USB, and other native features.
  • Security: PWAs are automatically delivered via HTTPS, making sites instantly more secure.
  • App shell: PWAs will automatically know how to load based on the type of device accessing them.

Industries Developing PWAs

A range of industries — from eCommerce, financial services, and healthcare to sports and fitness, media and entertainment, hospitality, and education — are fueling the growth of Progressive Web Applications. Both Best Western River North in Chicago and Pinterest saw significant increased conversion rates after implementing PWAs. In addition, Twitter and Facebook both are developing their platforms as PWAs to improve site load times and overall convenience.

As companies continue to explore the scalability and flexibility PWAs can offer, they’ll reconsider the limitations their mobile sites are putting on their digital businesses.

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, React.js, Ruby, and Elixir. With staff nationwide, we’ve got consultants in key markets across the United States, including San Francisco, San Diego, Phoenix, Dallas, Detroit, Miami, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and New York.