Described as “experiences that combine the best of the web and the best of apps,” PWAs are pages that use modern web capabilities to deliver an app-like experience for users.

Bear with me here.

PWAs are browser mobile web apps. They bring experiences you’d expect from a native app to mobile browsers. This is good, because it not only lessens the necessity of having an app, but also caters to the growing shift to mobile to provide a better user experience.

Google has been hyping PWAs for a while on their webmasters and developers pages. Per their description, a Progressive Web App is:

  • Progressive– Works for every user, regardless of browser choice because it’s built with progressive enhancement as a core tenet.
  • Responsive– Fits any form factor: desktop, mobile, tablet, or whatever is next.
  • Connectivity independent– Enhanced with service workers to work offline or on low-quality networks.
  • App-like– Feels like an app to the user with app-style interactions and navigation because it’s built on the app shell model.
  • Fresh– Always up-to-date thanks to the service worker update process.
  • Safe– Served via HTTPS to prevent snooping and to ensure content hasn’t been tampered with.
  • Discoverable– Is identifiable as an “application” thanks to W3C manifest and service worker registration scope, allowing search engines to find it.
  • Re-engageable– Makes re-engagement easy through features like push notifications.
  • Installable– Allows users to “keep” apps they find most useful on their home screen without the hassle of an app store.
  • Linkable– Easily share via URL, does not require complex installation.

PWAs also load really fast and have highly engaging features that become increasingly powerful as the user spends more time building a relationship with the app.

In short, your mobile website becomes your super fast/highly engaging app and turns out a positive user experiences for mobile users.

Who Needs A PWA

You might be compelled to get one immediately because it sounds so good, but not everyone needs a PWA. Moz has a handy little checklist that illustrates the who and why behind needing a PWA:

Screen-Shot-2017-01-17-at-6.51.42-AM What are PWAs and what do they mean for you?

If that checklist fits the bill for you and implementing a PWA sounds like the next step, you can get a run-through on creating one on Google developer’s intro to PWAs.


Also published on Medium.