The web has changed tremendously since its static beginnings. As the face of an online business, a website is built to invite new and internal customers into the world of an organization. However, as time went on, the web lacked the functionality, design, and native features that organizations desired the most, phones became ubiquitous, and mobile applications became a game-changer.
Editor's Note: This article is excerpted from the white paper, Progressive Web Apps: Create a Universal Experience Across All Devices available for download in the MC Press White Paper Center.
Imagine downloading an application to your mobile device and being able to access local device storage, cameras, and Near Field Communications (NFC). So we moved to creating mobile apps, housed in app stores and sometimes limited to the mobile and desktop operating environments that we use on a daily basis. Fast forward to 2020, and a new game-changer has emerged, one whose technology has been around for quite some time, but the guidelines and realizations of possibilities were seldom fused together.
Welcome the progressive web application—a way to create a universal experience across mobile and desktop alike and to view and utilize the web in a completely new way while increasing your marketability.
What’s the Goal of a Progressive Web Application?
The goals of progressive web applications are best described by the following three fundamentals:
Progressive web applications have a vast array of web APIs at their disposal to accomplish much of what a native application can provide. With technologies such as WebRTC, a progressive web application can be a chat client that connects via a peer-to-peer interface, stream video games down to the application, and enable live video chatting.
Progressive web applications are fast, and the goal is to reach the next billion users who have limited network connectivity. End users need their applications to be a fast experience, have the most recent content, and be able to interact with their other applications with as little friction as possible.
A progressive web application can be installed to the desktop and mobile environment with its own unique icon. When you launch a progressive web Application, you are not viewing a web browser; you are viewing an application window that looks and acts like any other application you may have on your phone, tablet, or computer. Additionally, the user experience and interaction is seamless across environments—that is, end users will have the same experience across mobile and desktop environments.
Why Progressive Web Apps?
The progressive web app centers itself around core principles that enable the web to be more user friendly, performant, and interactive. The web has become a set of powerful standards that provide almost endless possibilities for your web applications. From interacting with native device features such as the camera all the way to being installable on desktop and mobile devices, progressive web apps provide a whole host of possibilities. However, what you should know is that many of the standards that make progressive web applications possible are not new, but with the emergence of key technologies such as the service worker, PWAs are more poised than ever to create scalable, reliable, and flexible experiences within the browser.
All of this sounds great, but what are the benefits of PWAs for the enterprise environment? That question can be answered readily by Pinterest, Twitter, Nikkei, and a host of other businesses with varying models that have found that providing a progressive web app increases retention and acquisition of new users, while decreasing the amount of data usage. These are only a few use cases for the utilization of progressive web apps. Let’s take a look at how PWAs can be used for your business practice:
- Crafting new user experiences for employees to access and query the information they need on any platform
- Creating a web-based ticketing system for support agents, enabling work to be completed on a desktop or mobile environment
- Utilizing Web NFC to communicate with IoT devices and retrieve information about manufacturing equipment performance
- Creating a Content Management System (CMS) to deliver student content that can be available offline, enabling students with limited internet connectivity to view, edit, and complete assignments
- E-commerce with the Web Payment API and Paypal integrations
- Mobile accident assessment applications with the ability to take photos and videos of an accident, use audio recording to record testimonies, and more.
What to learn more? Download the full white paper, Progressive Web Apps: Create a Universal Experience Across All Devices available in the MC Press White Paper Center.