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When is PWA a Better Approach for Me Than Native Apps

Progressive Web Apps have recently gained in popularity as they offer numerous benefits both in terms of user experience and business-wise. Many enterprises of all sizes and industries have successfully implemented PWAs, which triggered significant improvements in their businesses. They’ve seen their bounce rates decrease, conversion rates shoot up and page speed improve. Should you follow their lead?

As a CEO or CTO, you probably have considered PWAs or at least heard about them. Naturally, PWA will enable you to substantially accelerate transaction processing for mobile shoppers, site searches, and service delivery. In many cases, PWA can o utperform even the most responsive legacy sites. However, it might not be a perfect match for all kinds of applications. When is it worth investing in a new web application that addresses the Progressive Web Apps concept instead of mobile native?

See also: What makes a web app progressive?

How to Verify If You Can Take Advantage of PWA Instead of Native

Understand your users’ needs

Are you sure that your users need a native mobile application? Maybe you became fixated on this idea in order to follow the crowd - in these times “everyone has a mobile app”. It’s not so straightforward! Even if a lot of businesses, even startups, invest money in native apps, the data shows that over 80% of time spent on mobile apps is spent using the three top apps! What is more, over 60% of Americans (people with the best smartphones in the world) install zero apps each month! There’s no point in building software that won’t be used, right?

The reasons for reluctance to install new apps are varied and hard to pigeonhole. Personally, I think it is useless to install a mobile native app that I use less often than at least every day. I use iPhone 6S with 16GB flash drive, and I really prefer to have apps on my dashboard that I actually use on a regular basis.

The next thing is that people use mobile devices basically everywhere, and the majority of this time is outside their home. This means that they are probably not having a WiFi connection and there must be a very strong demand for your app core value to sacrifice precious mobile broadband on a limited plan. Would you spend 300Mb out of 2GB of your broadband on your app? Think about that.

Figure out where your users are

If you build global applications, you must reach out to global users. And it turns out that the majority of Earth’s population does not have 3G, which means that using high-volume data is out of their possibilities. Twitter’s PWA accounts for only 3% of native mobile data usage and led to a 70% increase in the tweets sent.  

Estimate the costs and prioritise

Why do most of the startup fail? Because they didn’t match the product with the market. But the real reason is that they basically didn’t make it as a result of burning all the money they had. As likely as not, a significant part of these companies would have made it if they had had a month, a quarter or a year more.

That’s why it is crucial to prioritise your costs and save money where possible and gain time for iterations and pivoting. Is it worth spending $200k on your iOS and Android application? Are you sure that the conversion rates will be high enough to get you paying customers?

Progressive Web App is a must-have web application, but it is focused on user experience. The costs of developing a fully PWA-compliant application might be a little bit higher than the regular web app, but it’s a small investment comparing to two separate native applications.

See also: If You’re Building Any of these 4 Types of Apps, You Need Progressive Web Apps

Summary

As a senior tech leader, I would always push for a wide discussion upon Progressive Web App instead of mobile native. From the business perspective, you are responsible for growing your company and spending money where it’s important and has signs of returns on these investments. Don’t follow the crowd and consider embracing a new trend on the web, Progressive Web App, which is the future of the Internet - no doubt about that.

76% higher conversion on the mobile web for Alibaba.com - Progressive Web Apps
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