At Google's 2015 world conference, a new capability was announced that developer Alex Russel and designer Frances Berriman called progressive web applications —PWAs —that promoted a number of advantages, which in their words, "will become a radical shift in the understanding and use of tools to build better experiences across multiple devices and contexts in a single code base."
But the pioneer who initially spoke about this approach was actually Steve Jobs who, in June 2007, announced a new form of mobile development. This new form at the time would allow developers to leverage the entire Safari engine to build reliable and secure applications that would run on a server and would be rendered on devices without SDKs (Software Development Kits).
What Jobs posed at the time was diverted from months later, resulting with the launch of the Apple SDK and the subsequent monetization of the Apple application store—Appstore—which ended up being a multi-billion dollar business.
Today, 5 years after Google's announcement regarding PWAs, it is evident that the adoption rate has not been as high as expected. Which makes one think: PWAs need more time to count on the necessary advances that enterprises need to make, in order to take advantage of this model.
The advantages of PWAs are, above all, attractive for their ability to spread the development experience over the traditional model of building mobile, hybrid and web applications by creating applications that can be kept in one place, without open tabs that lead to different places. PWAs ensure ubiquity and interaction from a single place. Despite all that, it's true that this is a gamble that Google is making as a new paradigm of building web applications.
That being said, to date, several organizations have adopted PWA with great results, suggesting that the balance will tip in the mid term, especially due to the benefits that we will review in a moment.
Let's analyze some cases of companies that have been adopting this approach to also review some of the results they've generated:
- The Starbucks PWA doubled the number of active users placing orders per day at nearly the same rate as mobile users.
- Uber launched its PWA as an alternative to expand into new markets, especially in emerging economies, enabling it to be used and downloaded on 2G networks in just 3 seconds (it's a tiny app that only weighs 50kB!).
- The Trivago PWA increased the number of users who have added it to their homescreen by 150%, with a 97% increasse in clickouts to hotel offers.
- The Tinder PWA reduced total load time from 12 to 4.69 seconds and user engagement is higher than in their native version.
- The Pinterest PWA became the company's official version after a 60% increase in core engagement and a 44% increase in user-generated ad revenue as a result of increased session time where users spend 40% more compared to the old mobile web experience.
- The Forbes PWA increased the average session time by 43% with 20% more ad viewability, reducing the load time to 0.8 secs. where it previously ranged anywhere from 3 to 12 secs.
- Alibaba increased its conversion rate by 76% with 14% more active users on iOS and 30% more on Android.
- Twitter Lite pioneered the adoption of PWAs which resulted in a 65% increase in pages per session and a 20% decrease in the bounce rate.