Not to be confused with a regular website, a progressive web application can adapt and react quickly in order to offer an engaging user experience that is compatible across all modern platforms. There are many different definitions about what a progressive web app is, but no conclusive, accepted, 100% correct definition. This begs the question, what is a progressive web app? One thing that the web can agree on is that progressive web apps have certain distinguishable features that classify it as a progressive web app. These features are as follows:
Progressive web apps are progressive because they enforce a design strategy of building the core web page content first followed by as many complex layers of presentation and features as the user’s internet connection will allow. With strict focus on content, this means that everyone should have access to the basic content and functionality of a webpage using any browser and any internet connection. Users with advanced browser software and greater internet connections should be able to have an enhanced version of the page.
From tablets to smartphones to desktop computers, devices come in a range of different sizes. In order to be considered a progressive web app, applications must be responsive. Responsive web design involves using HTML and CSS to automatically rearrange, resize, hide, shrink, or enlarge elements on a website to make it look good on all devices no matter what size they are.
When there is no wifi, web applications cannot function properly. Progressive web apps, on the other hand, are enhanced with service workers to make sure that users are able to work offline or with a low quality network. Progressive web apps are known for providing a seamless and native-like experience by precaching pages for later use.
Progressive web apps use the app-shell model in order to provide an app like feel. The shell provides navigation and interactions so users feel as if they are in an app but really they have never left the web. Having an app-like feel empowers progressive web apps and makes them an easy to turn into a desktop or mobile application.
One problem with ordinary web apps is finding the exact same site again. Any progressive web app will have the option to be installable which will allow users to keep any apps that they find useful on their home screen. Once installed, progressive web apps are known to look, feel, and behave like other installed apps. It’s launched from the home screen, runs in its own app window, and is separate from the browser.
Any application would be useless if users couldn’t find it. An important characteristic for progressive web applications is the ability to be discovered by search engines. Progressive web apps are identifiable as applications and must be registered with a service worker script to speed up repeat visits to a web application. Anyone searching for something similar to your app, will most certainly find it.
Internet safety is important because data can be stolen, shared, or hacked. Progressive web applications takes steps to make sure that users are safe. Without sacrificing performance or security, all progressive web apps are served with an HTTPS protocol. HTTPS adds an extra security later which means data will be encrypted to protect a user’s privacy and integrity.
Any app is only as good as when people use it. Getting someone to try out your generic app is easy, getting them to come back though might be challenging. With progressive web apps re-engagement with your audience is easy through features such as push-notifications and background-sync.
Last but not least, progressive web apps are be linkable. Linkable web applications make it easier for users to access because anyone who wants to access the app, clicks on the link. A linkable progressive web application is easier to share in an email or on any social media platforms.
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