During the last years, PWAs have been subject to lots of evolution, many big IT companies like Twitter, Pinterest, Ali express, among many others adopted the concept and created impressive products. But, are PWAs the right product for your business?. This article can help you to decide.
PWAs are the evolution of Web Apps and responsive websites, trying to evolve the web browser experience to a native mobile experience, but are PWAs the right product for your business?. First, let’s talk about the advantages, disadvantages, and limitations of a Progressive Web Application.
There are key advantages when you compare a PWA to a Web App (a traditional mobile website).
- Connectivity independence, which allows the PWA to work Offline most of the time (after the first visit).
- App-like look and feel, which helps to remove the web browser search bar when you download the PWA to your device.
- Higher product visibility, because you can open your PWA either in a web browser or find it in Google Play Store and Microsoft Store available to download.
- Push Notifications. By using Web Notifications as native push notifications in Android.
- Faster experience, because of its background processing feature, which means that Progressive Web Applications integrate better with mobile hardware,
In Conclusion, PWAs offer a significant upgrade to traditional responsive websites.
All disadvantages reveal when compares PWAs to Mobile apps (Native and Hybrid):
- Mobile Apps have the proper access to low-level hardware components of mobile devices like Accelerometer, NFC, and Bluetooth, PWAs are limited to the web operating system limitations.
- Local memory limitations, because PWAs uses the cache memory for local storage.
- Security perception of sensitive information in local storage.
- PWAs are slower than mobile Apps. Therefore, the UX is affected, especially for video games and applications that need high processor usage.
- UI for custom sophisticated graphic interfaces, because native mobile apps have better and more evolved visual frameworks.
In general words, you must be careful when you think of modifying your Mobile app to a PWA.
All limitations presented at this moment are related to iOS. Even this operating system has enabled some functionalities for PWAs. However, we can see some restrictions in comparison with others (like Android and Windows 10)
- No push notifications.
- It Can’t access components like Face-Id, AR Kit, and Bluetooth.
- Fewer Cache memory usage (50 MB).
- iOS purges the cache memory often, affecting the offline functionality and local storage.
- No App Store visibility.
All limitations are destiny to be removed in a near – medium-term future, even though it is necessary to have them in mind and review new iOS releases notes.
The Business Perspective
Now that the most relevant arguments are exposed, it is necessary to determine the main features of your desired (or existing) product, the stage of your business, and the costs (creation and maintenance).
Usually, for IT-based MVPs, it is necessary to have fast and market goal-focused products, and not to think in complex product developments. Therefore, entrepreneurs seem forced to decide on a web app or a mobile app. With a PWA, having in mind the limitations and disadvantages, which shouldn’t be an obstacle for the development of an MVP (usually), it is possible to create a product for both approaches (web and mobile).
Regarding cost and development time, the difference between developing an MVP web App and a PWA is no more than 10% – 15%, and maintenance efforts are very similar.
The visibility of a PWA product is an advantage. With just one development, you can have a Website + Mobile website + Mobile app, and by now add your PWA to Google Play (We hope in the future App Store as well). That way, you will have more potential users, and prove your solution in the market faster.
Refinement and Scaling stages Startups
If you already have:
A web app developed, the upgrade version is a PWA, and the migration is something to have in mind. It is crucial to be careful with your development team about the efforts of this migration, especially if your product’s age is longer than two years.
A mobile app, please have in mind the limitations and especially the disadvantages of a PWA. In general, if your mobile app is a marketplace-like product, a PWA would fit as a suitable replacement, because you gain web visibility and won’t sacrifice your mobile app functionality. But, if your app works with low-level hardware or any other advantage of Mobile Apps presented before, keep maintaining your mobile app. Create a separate PWA will help you gaining web visualization and users.
Regularly IT solutions provided by established companies are 360-degree offers that include cloud, Web + Mobile Apps, and even desktop applications. Our suggestions for existing products is the same as for Scaling stages startups, thinking mostly about the optimization of maintenance costs. For new web-based products, we suggest going with Progressive Web applications instead of Web apps.
We suggest reviewing with your IT partner all aspects and considerations to have in mind focused on the peculiarity of your business when thinking about developing a PWA or migrate your apps to a PWA. We at Foonkie Monkey will be pleased to advise, so don’t hesitate to contact us.
Article of interest: Software Team Calculator