Thousands of apps are launched every year in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store, unfortunately, most of them never get downloaded. From the lucky apps that do get installed, most of them are deleted after the first interaction. The reason behind app uninstallations isn’t always because ‘It’s a crappy app’, sometimes users are unwilling to manage another app in their device. Whenever I have to install an app, the first thought that hits me is that ‘I’m running out of memory’. The point is that having to install apps to access their features can get pretty tiring.
Thanks to mobile application development companies, users no longer have to through the burden of installing apps. With ‘Progressive Web Applications’, users can simply type in the web address, and access a website that functions as resembles their native mobile application. The best part is that progressive web apps are capable of functioning offline.
If you haven’t heard about PWA’s, take a quick look at what they are and what they do:
What Are Progressive Web Apps?
Progressive Web Applications are websites that look like your native mobile apps and function just as well. Normally, users would search for the app in the play store, download the app, install it, maybe they would use it a few times and then forget all about it (maybe uninstall it altogether). Progressive web apps have removed the need to install apps, companies all around the globe have accepted this technology with open arms. Even Google happily accepted PWA’s because it would mean that more people will be using the world wide web and consequently there will be an increase in Google users. Have a look at the image below:
The above image shows the progressive web application of Instagram; you can see its striking resemblance with the native Instagram app.
Before I explain how you can leverage the user experience of PWA’s, I want you to take a quick look at some advantages of Progressive Web Apps:
- Highly Responsive
- Solves the App Gap problem
- Instant loading time even offline
- Offer an unforgettable User Experience
A number of popular companies took to using Progressive Web Apps, for example, Aliexpress, Twitter, and Forbes. PWA’s promise an improvement in usability and user engagement. Looking at businesses like Aliexpress and Forbes, there is no doubt about that. They noticed a considerable improvement in their ROI and conversion rates along with a drop in bounce rates. After Twitter launched its PWA ‘Twitter lite’, it noticed a 65% increase in page sessions and around 20% reduction in user bounce rate.
Up till now, we took a dive into understanding the concept behind PWA’s and their advantages. Now, let’s see how expert mobile application development companies can ensure an amazing user experience in PWA’s.
#1 Improve The Loading Time and Optimize Performance
As soon as users enter your PWA, they should feel a sense of familiarity with the native app and definitely shouldn’t feel as if they are using the browser. The loading time must be instant and flawless. In fact, Google as recommended that developers should utilize the PRPL pattern to filter any issues caused by slow network coverage.
The PRPL Pattern:
PRPL is a pattern used to structure websites and apps so that they have error-free functionality even under unreliable network connections. Here is what PRPL stands for:
- Push critical resources for the initial URL route.
- Render the initial route
- Pre-Cache the remaining routes
- Lazy-Load & create remaining routes on demand.
PRPL pattern is used to improve the response of PWA’s on real-world devices. It works to improve the efficiency of PWA’s as new updates are released and it caches data more effectively.
Service Worker Caching:
Service Workers are the magic behind the offline functionality of Progressive Web Apps. Service workers save CSS files, requests for scripts and pages, etc. So when a user makes a network request, the information first passes through the Service Worker and you can decide if you want to return the cached data or allow the network request.
#2 Focus On Re-Creating Native
When you’re creating your PWA’s don’t forget that your Progressive Web App shouldn’t function and look like a website. If you consider Instagram, pretty much everyone is familiar with the app’s functionality, navigation, and look and feel. When you access its PWA, you can’t tell the app and the web app apart. On the other hand, if Instagram had decided to go ahead and play around with the PWA’s layout and navigation, people wouldn’t get what they were familiar with or what they were expecting. It would be pretty confusing to remember a whole new set of navigational procedures when both the platforms are supposed to be serving the same purpose. I wouldn’t make any sense. Try to avoid making the following mistakes, if you want your PWA to deliver an exceptional user experience:
Always focus on making navigation a piece of cake, for a PWA, you want to make sure that it closely resembles that of the native app. Focus on feeding the user’s expectations by maintaining familiarity.
Websites face scrolling issues like slow page loading, or blank pages appearing when you’re scrolling a website. Twitter used to have the issue of scrolling glitches, it solved this issue by incorporating Virtualized Lists. Virtualized lists allow that part of the content to be visible that is in the viewpoint of the user.
Transition Issues On Network:
PWA’s are to be designed for the appearance of speed, it should be responsive to the user’s interaction. Most importantly, the transitions have to be flawless. Most of the times it happens that when a user clicks on a button or link, the user has to wait and stare and the previous screen before they are ultimately lead to the new destination. This highlights your PWA as ‘unresponsive’. In order to make sure that you deliver flawless transitions, you can utilize skeleton screens in your PWA, below is an example of a skeleton screen.
Skeleton screens empty screen that display areas where content is to appear. After the user’s request is made, they are lead to the new page that shows a skeleton screen, content gradually starts loading inside the screen.
#3 Avoid Designing Like Websites
You might have a background of website and application development, but when you start creating PWA’s, try to start fresh. When you design a PWA, follow the guidelines of a minimalistic design, keep the content fresh and concise. In fact, designing an informative yet approachable interface is one of the biggest challenges that app developers face.
#4 Utilize System Fonts
One of the best ways to build familiarity for your users is by designing in a way that matches a user’s operating system. You can start by using the system fonts found in individual operating systems such as Windows, Android, iOS, etc. If you want to get creative anyway, you use custom fonts in the headers and in the logos.
#5 Optimize Content Interactions
To prevent content crowding, designers must be very careful with the layout of content and images. You will have to optimize your content interactions, such as accidentally opening something when scrolling through a list. You need to clearly differentiate between ‘plain-content’ and ‘selectable interactive content’. It can be pretty annoying if a user clicks on a button but it turns out to be plain content, or if a user accidentally taps on ‘plain-content’ but it turns out to be a link.
You can define the types of content by using CSS to mark non-content elements.
Wrapping It Up:
By using the right design and development strategies, you can guarantee an excellent User Experience on your PWA’s. Progressive Web Applications are no doubt the next big thing for users as well as businesses. If you’ve read up to hear, hopefully, you got some ideas from this article, if you still have some questions, feel free to leave your thoughts below.