It's working great! People can easily access our services from multiple devices; what more do we need?' said every person who, at one point in time, was asked if a mobile application is necessary for their existing web application. What comes next after your responsive website?
This article answers the following questions:
- What is a responsive website?
- Advantages and disadvantages of a responsive website
- What is a native web app?
- What is a progressive web application?
- Comparison and similarities between a progressive web application and a native app
What is a responsive web application?
A responsive web app is a website application whose design and development are centred on the idea that the site should adapt to the device. This means that the website should respond to the size, platform and orientation of the users' device.
Unlike a mobile application, a responsive web app can't offer advanced functionalities, like offline use and support, push notifications and other features specific to mobile application - native app-like features.
More importantly, customer engagement and conversions are driven by these features. And this is why businesses and brands are thinking about the next steps. In this case, progressive web application (PWA) and native apps.
It's vital to note that having a responsive web app has its benefits and drawbacks, and we have examined them.
PROS OF A RESPONSIVE WEB APP
- Cost: Cost-effectiveness is more of a benefit for business rather than an impact on user experience; however, Cost is an essential factor to consider, especially if you want your app to have a presence on more than one platform. Depending on the complexity of the application, a responsive website is your best choice compared to PWA.
- Availability: Regardless of the operating system, a responsive website can be accessed from any mobile device with an internet connection. However, the mobile Web experience is impacted by network access, quality, and speed.
- Time: Designing and developing a responsive website, however time-consuming it can be; compared to designing and developing a mobile application or PWA.
- There is no need for an update: A responsive website doesn't need to be installed or downloaded. Updates and features are done automatically by the development team. Websites updates, detection and bug fixes, and support are easy, so users won't even notice that an update is being performed and can immediately enjoy an improved experience.
CONS OF A RESPONSIVE WEB APP
- Speed: Responsive websites tend to have slower loading times compared to mobile apps
- Functionality: Responsive websites don't offer as much functionality compared to progressive web apps that can function on any operating system and native apps custom-built for their specific operating systems.
Creating a responsive website that is equally user-friendly for both desktop and mobile users saves time and money and is Cost-efficient.
As a result, you get an authentic cross-platform experience for your project and growing conversions for the products and services you offer.
Your web app needs to look and function correctly on different devices to stay competitive in today's world. Therefore, businesses either cater to their smartphone users or lose out on potential customers.
Deciding what comes next after a responsive web app demands that you focus on how to improve features and functionality that benefit your customers and convert potential customers while focusing on business needs and goals. This decision does not need to be mind-bending.
What is a progressive website?
A progressive app mirrors the behaviour of an app but isn't an app . This technology helps improve the mobile experience. A PWA looks and feels like a mobile app, but lacks all the mobile app's functionalities. They don't need to be downloaded from the app store but are placed on users' home screens.
What features or attributes make up a PWA?
- It is responsive - can adequately adapt to screen sizes, keeping optimal functionality.
- Mobile app look, feel and functionality.
- It can be used offline and online.
- Integrations like push notifications, blue tooth, access to photos and videos etc., to improve user experience.
- Always up to date with the latest functionalities
- Discoverable: W3C Manifest files and Service Worker registration scope make it possible for search engines to identify them as "applications".
- Installable: Users can choose which apps they want to "hold" to their home screens via browser prompts, avoiding the hassles of installing an app store.
- Linkable: meaning they're zero-friction, zero-install, and easy to share.
PWA and Native apps: the pros, cons and comparisons
Progressive apps and native apps both have their benefits and limitations. The one that is right for you meets the demands of your business and users alike. We covered essential metrics in this section.
Download and installations
- Mobile application downloads require a lot of commitment; most users are looking for quick answers and solutions to their questions and problems, respectively.
- Progressive web apps don't require any app stored download and installation. Instead, it can be added to the users' home screen and seamlessly integrated into their system settings.
- Progressive web apps load fast even with a limited or poor connection. Users are more inclined to stay on a web page if it has a fast loading speed. This makes PWA; SEO friendly. Optimal performance is crucial for business productivity.
- On the other hand, native apps are developed to suit operating system specifications; this makes them powerful. Native apps can access device hardware perform more calculations, and deliver a better user experience.
Features and functionalities
- A native app can provide better features and functionalities than a progressive web application. The downside is installing updates to ensure the app is functioning optimally. On the other hand, an outdated mobile app means ancient features and functionality.
- A PWA doesn't offer as many features like a native app but is always up to date, so users always enjoy an improved experience.
- Pre-caching allows PWA to deliver offline functionality to certain parts of the web app at a time. But if a user requests any information or feature which isn't part of the natural caching system, they won't be given access. So, for example, you could browse static pages of the app, but you couldn't interact with the web app until connectivity is restored.
- Native apps fare far better when it comes to availability. Without an internet connection, a native app can deliver consistent information (and offline functionality).
- It is expensive to build native apps since you need to develop both versions separately if you want genuinely native features. Native app development for Android uses Java, Kotlin and objective C, swift for Apple operating system. It costs more and takes more people to manage two different development stacks. The high Cost is a risky barrier for early-stage startups who want initial traction and feedback from real users.
- The process of creating PWAs, on the other hand, is quicker and less expensive since it is fundamentally a web app designed to work on any mobile device, irrespective of the operating system.
- A native app is a time consuming to build because the functionalities are specific to operating systems. For example, the native approach requires software development teams to launch Android and iOS applications. In addition, validation is needed from app stores to launch and distribute native apps.
- Progressive web apps are faster to build and deploy because, essentially, a PWA is a website. It can be quickly developed compared to a native app; this is useful to test user experience and analyse insights and feedback. Not having to wait for app store validation is a plus.
If you're still early and want to ship quickly (or get initial traction), PWAs may be the right choice.
Benefits of progressive web applications
Boosts Conversions & Retention: PWAs load faster, help find information instantly and increase time spent by the user.
Improves Engagement: PWAs can be designed to boost engagement through push notifications and faster load timings on mobile phones.
Support for Offline Usage: PWAs can be used offline even with erratic connections (thanks to pre-caching). As a result, the website loads reliably and is never unavailable.
Essentially, a progressive web app is a website that appears and functions like a native mobile app. A progressive web app
- Run in the browser,
- Doesn't need to download the app from the Google Play Store or iOS App Store.
PWAs are meant to eliminate the problems associated with slow or unreliable networks and poor connectivity.
PWA-compliant sites use the latest web technologies to ensure reliable, fast, and engaging experiences.
Users appreciate that PWAs do not require installation. Consequently, businesses and their customers both benefit from this.
Deciding on a progressive web application or a native app is dependent on the functionality of your product, its future and your users. Wazobia Technologies specialises in building software applications for businesses, so we can take on the work for whichever choice you make. Give us a call.