After we posted two articles about PWA, we received enormous feedback from our clients and readers. KeenEthics inbox has been filled with requests for PWA development services. If you also want to learn more about the topic, check our post "Why PWA Development Is the Future". You will discover the benefits of PWA and get a better understanding of its potential. If you have free time, you can also read our article "Progressive Web Apps vs Native" and see what type of development strategy fits your context.
If you already have this knowledge and are considering whether PWA can help your business grow, welcome to our new article about PWA and its applicability! Choosing between using and not using PWA is easier than you assume. And I will show you why.
It will sound mundane if I tell you that PWA development is one of the most progressive tech spheres. Indeed, you hear such phrases almost from every corner. Here at KeenEthics, we value transparency and honesty, and I am not interested in convincing you that PWA is the best choice no matter what. Instead, I am here to help you to clarify whether you actually need it.
Together, we will study the PWA technology more in-detail. For this purpose, I suggest a four-question approach. Answering my questions, you will see if PWA is the best solution in your particular case. Let's start!
1. Do you have any ready-made developments?
Yes, the first question that should be considered is the one about the state of your progress so far. If you already have some ready-made developments that are praised by users, you should choose another path. And this is why.
The benefits of PWA app include speed and simplicity. As you see from the PWA features list, you can get a final product in the shortest terms. However, these benefits stop being benefits if you have already developed a mobile application. In case you decide to change one strategy to another, be ready to spend a lot of money.
The thing is, converting a ready-made mobile app to a progressive web app cannot be done with a few simple clicks. Instead, PWA has to be developed from scratch. Does PWA mean more expenses in this case? Yes. If you had already gone through the lengthy and complicated process of native app development, why would you throw it out and start everything from the beginning?
Indeed, every rule has an exception. If you see that your mobile app is outdated or inefficient, you have two options. One is to contact a mobile app development company and ask them to improve and revive your app. You should use this path if you are sure that your app is in demand and your customers like it. The second option is to transform your strategy and build an entirely new application using PWA technology.
You will probably ask, "And who is using PWA?" Look at the Pinterest case. Pinterest is one of the brightest examples of companies that implemented PWA and combined the two strategies. They have developed a progressive web app but did not forget about the traditional mobile application either. The only condition there was to have both time and money for such a complex approach.
Key idea: The PWA approach is an excellent solution if you have no ready-made developments. If you already have a native or cross-platform mobile version of your app, it will be easier and more productive to finish and improve it rather than build a new PWA from scratch.
2. Do you want to focus on mobile devices only?
Here, the central aim of PWA should be considered. As you know, the purpose of PWA development is to improve users' experience while accessing a web page from a mobile device. To put it simply, PWA presumes that people approach their favorite web pages in a convenient way.
Until the PWA technology was introduced, the businesses willing to target both web and mobile had two options. The first was to adapt their web pages to the format of mobile. It was a clumsy and inconvenient solution from the perspective of a user. The second option was to build a mobile application from scratch. And this solution was not perfect, too. Just consider how many resources were needed to build both a website and an application at once. Fortunately, with the advancement of PWA, both businesses and users have got the golden mean embodying both efficiency for the former and convenience for the latter.
If you do not plan to enter the web or desktop niche but choose to focus solely on mobile apps, there is no need to build PWA. Surely, when developing progressive web apps, you win because you get one application for both Android and iOS. However, this is exactly what you can achieve with cross-platform development with Ionic, Cordova, or React Native. Meanwhile, Pinterest has developed a progressive web app to augment their already existent web platform and mobile app.
Key idea: PWAs work best for the businesses targeting both web and mobile platforms. If you choose to focus only on one of those, there is no fair reason to choose progressive web app development.
3. Are you reluctant to let your users access the app via a web browser?
One of the key differences between mobile apps and progressive web apps lies in the fact that the former are downloaded from the store, while the latter – via a shared link or directly from a website. Below, you can see how the process of installing PWA unfolds.
So many humans, so many minds, I would say. Everything depends on your goals, preferences, and interest in the business. If you, for example, think that it's cool to work with App Store or Google Play, choose mobile app development. If you, however, believe that there is high competition on the mobile app market and that inspiring users to share your links is easier, feel free to build PWA. Besides, if your website already has a sufficiently large target audience of devoted users, progressive web apps would work best for you.
Key idea: If you want your users to access the application via the App Store or Google Play rather than through a browser, you should go with a mobile app.
4. Do you need advanced mobile device features?
PWA's functionality is continually expanding. So far, progressive web apps know how to work with geolocation. Yet, a lot of other advanced functions are beyond their reach. Unlike regular mobile apps, progressive web apps do not work with proximity sensors, advanced camera controls, audio or video recording, fingerprint scanning, NFC, or even Bluetooth.
To make a final decision about your strategy, make a list of features you want to see in your product. Then, ask your development team for the PWA checklist of features that they will not be able to implement. Compare these two lists. If you cannot do without at least one of these features, you should opt for mobile development.
Below, you see the example of the functionality of mobile app versus progressive web app. As you might notice, the mobile application comprises more functions, and some of them are unavailable in the PWA version of the product. For instance, opening a mobile app will give you the chance to take photos, while opening PWA will only give you the chance to look at them. As I like to say, everything is a matter of priorities.
Key idea: Incompatibility with native device features can hinder you from developing PWA. While this issue may be solved in the future, for now, you should go with mobile apps instead.
Let's Sum Up
What is the PWA, and what does it mean for a business? For some people, it means growth and opportunity, while for others, PWA means increased expenses. Analyze the pros and cons of PWA for your case to see whether it works. Now, you know what I mean by each of the four listed questions. Let’s review them once again. But this time, read them out and give a yes or no response:
Do you have any ready-made developments, such as a native mobile app?
Do you want to focus on mobile devices only? No desktop or web platforms?
Are you reluctant to let your users access the app via a web browser?
Do you need advanced mobile device features? Are you going to use fingerprint scanning, NFC, or Bluetooth?
If you answer "yes" to the majority of these questions, then, probably, you do not need a progressive web app, and a mobile app will be a more effective solution.
If you do not have any developments yet, you do not plan to limit your app to mobile platforms, and web browsers do not scare you, feel free to contact us for PWA implementation.
PWAs can provide you with a great advantage!
Special thanks to my colleague Tetiana Matviiok, project manager at @KeenEthics, for helping me with the article.