Much like the fashion industry, the approaches we take for developing and delivering digital products are dictated by usage trends and emerging technologies. Progressive Web Apps (PWA) are just that, a relatively “modern” way to develop digital products that work for everyone.
The question isn’t whether or not to build a Native App or a Progressive Web App (PWA), the question to ask is: what are you trying to accomplish? Since PWAs are “progressively” planned and deployed, they’re way simpler to manage and reduce long-term investment costs. They can also target more users, more platforms, and more OSs and browsers—all with a single source of code.
Just a couple years back, web development failed to provide an ideal combination of support and great look & feel on desktop and mobile. So, companies opted to build native mobile apps to allow employees and customers to perform their tasks anytime, anywhere. But the latest evolution of web development has changed this. Today’s responsive-web capabilities are practically limitless. They enable users to perform any function to keep business productive: making purchases, completing a setup, uploading/downloading, visualizing, submitting…everything is on the table. So why spend more for a native app that your customers or employees may never even download because they prefer to work in a browser or because they simply work faster on a desktop computer?
Since they’re so much more adaptable than Native Apps, Progressive Web Applications should be the future of your company’s customer experience.
If you’re still uncertain whether to go with a Native App or a Web App, this chart will help you decide:
|You want to target various user personas, environments, and diverse platform/devices.|
|Web development has become more adaptable to any device screen and OS, and significantly reduces cost and development effort.|
|You want to accelerate the delivery of your product to customers to grow business leads, revenue, or brand recognition.|
|Users can access Web Apps easily and from anywhere via a link that opens a browser. In contrast, Native Apps require user consent, and sometimes a password, to download. This adds friction. Interestingly, some app stores are even starting to index PWAs.|
|Your product requires OS-level features (e.g., access to address book, calendars, speedometer, Bluetooth, proximity, 3D Touch, etc.).|
|Although Web App capabilities are evolving and many of these features can now be used in web-based products, they still can’t compete with Native Apps.|
|Your product needs to communicate a timely status and/or send messages and “push” notifications.|
|Push notifications were a big reason companies built Native Apps, but Web Apps now provide these as well, along with messaging via SMS & Email.|
|Your product requires secure payment processing.|
|Users prefer making payments in Native Apps because the discrete space feels more secure; a Web App is not a precisely defined space. However, today’s web-based payment services are absolutely just as secure.|
|You want to manage product-access or require specific devices/platforms to track usage and performance metrics in a secure, restricted IT environment.|
|In this case, a native mobile app is necessary to track and monitor mobile devices remotely.|
|You want your product to work offline.||Web Apps use cached resources for offline tasks and sync data when back online. Native Apps work more efficiently and offer better offline capabilities.|
As you can see, many feature differences still need to be considered to ensure you select the ideal modality for your digital solution. But it’s not that simple. The success of a digital project requires a solid strategy. Most likely, it will be impossible to develop all the desired capabilities in one go-round. To efficiently deploy your product in stages, you first need to prioritize all of the app requirements. When it comes to Progressive Web App development, two concepts ensure a successful outcome: Graceful Degradation and Progressive Enhancements. Take a deeper look at these concepts to better understand why PWAs require a “Progressive” approach.
On a personal note, our team has been delivering Native App design and development for over a decade. To continue delivering great value to our customers, we evolve our skills along with the technology. And while we keep learning about emerging Native App technologies, we also work internally, day-by-day to keep perfecting our proven, tried-and-true process for helping your organization pick the best path to take your product idea from napkin to app.
Anexinet’s design team has been working diligently on a new set of standards we to continue providing agency-quality design and value for the enterprise. Let our expert team of strategists, architects, and designers help you define a winning strategy, and build a gorgeous, intuitive prototype—to make your final digital solution the best it can possibly be. To learn more about our 3-week Application Scoping and Prototype Kickstart, please reach out to us at any time. We’d love to help you get started.