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Why You Should Build a Progressive Web App Now

Why You Should Build a Progressive Web App Now

Presented at Smashing Conference

There’s been a lot of discussion about how to build a progressive web app but not a lot of discussion about why businesses should invest in them. Better user experience, faster performance, more engagement—Jason Grigsby explains why progressive web apps are no-brainers for most websites.

Jason Grigsby

April 04, 2017

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    OF IT IN 2010, THE web died. Or so said the publication you’re CADE METZ BUSINESS 04.20.16 1:00 PM GOOGLE BUSINESS CULTURE DESIGN GEAR SCIENCE SECURITY TRANSPORTATION Wait! The Web Isn't Dead After All. Google Made Sure of It SUBSCRIBE
  2. of building online services and delivering them across the Internet,

    but of using these services. At the very least, it’s not dead. The Progressive Web App The Weather Company offers a smartphone app, like any other sane company that harbors aspirations on the Internet. But it has seen more and more people visit its mobile website in recent years. According to Sheri Bachstein, the Weather Company’s vice president of web, about fifty percent of its web traffic now arrives on mobile phones and tablets (as opposed to the desktop). Yes, more people use the company’s various apps, but increasingly, the mobile web is a vital way of reaching its worldwide audience—not to mention maintaining and expanding that audience. The company now offers what Google calls a “progressive web app.” Basically, this is a website that, in sometimes gradually evolving ways, behaves like a native app. You visit it through a browser, just like any other website. But as you continue to use it, turning on certain tools, it transforms into something more. With a progressive web app, you can set up push notifications, so you know when new content arrives. You can add an icon to your phone’s home screen, so you can rapidly revisit the service. And perhaps most importantly, thanks to a technology called service workers, it can operate both online and off, kinda like a web app. Among other things, this means that when you visit the web app a second time, it loads faster. It’s more like the thing is sitting on your phone. ‘You use it. You like it. And over time, you progressively build a relationship with it.’ —ALEX KOMOROSKE, CHROME PRODUCT MANAGER
  3. Time Visibility Technology Trigger Peak of Inflated Expectations Trough of

    Disillusionment Slope of enlightenment Plateau of Productivity Gartner Hype Cycle
  4. Browsers hope they can increase install rates by observing user

    engagement and fine-tuning when they show the banner.
  5. Over 2 million apps available in iOS and Android app

    stores. Source: Statista, http://bit.ly/2fleesH | Photo by Blake Patterson, http://bit.ly/2foGNpj
  6. 8+ apps 5-7 apps 4 apps 3 apps 2 apps

    1 app 0 apps 49% 13% 11% 8% 6% 7% 6% U.S. smartphone users’ number of apps downloads per month Source: Comscore 2016 U.S. Mobile App Report, http://bit.ly/2d27iPI
  7. Average Android App Retention of Daily Active Users Source: Quettra

    via Andrew Chen http://bit.ly/1Hq53AR Percentage of Users Still Active 0% 25% 50% 75% 100% Days Since App Install 0 1 3 7 14 30 60 90
  8. © comScore, Inc. Proprietary. 26 Advertising and marketing is becoming

    a more important driver of app installs, while the app store’s influence may have peaked. App acquisition appears to be moving from ‘pull’ to ‘push’. App stores remain the most important method, but they are no longer growing in importance. Meanwhile, more users are now discovering apps from websites, digital ads and traditional media ads, highlighting the increasing importance of traditional push marketing for user acquisition. Most Common App Discovery Channels Among Smartphone Users Source: comScore MobiLens, U.S., Age 13+, 3 Month Average Ending June 2016 vs. June 2015 21% 14% 16% 9% 8% 9% 8% 6% 21% 14% 16% 11% 8% 11% 9% 9% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% Searched app store Featured/ Top List in app store via friend/ family via comment/ review/ social site via news/ print review/ TV show via a website via Ad on device browser/ app via Ad on TV/ print/ billboard % of Smartphone Users Jun-2015 Jun-2016 App Store Word-of-Mouth/Opinion Advertising/Marketing Being in the app store is no longer enough. Cost of acquisition higher.
  9. © comScore, Inc. Proprietary. 15 And mobile audience growth is

    being driven more by mobile web properties, which are actually bigger and growing faster than apps. A comparison of the Top 1000 Apps vs. the Top 1000 Mobile Web Properties shows that despite apps dominance in usage time, mobile web is responsible for big audiences on mobile. Mobile web audiences are almost 3x the size and growing 2x as fast as app audiences. Average Monthly Audience: Top 1000 Mobile Apps vs. Top 1000 Mobile Web Properties Source: comScore Mobile Metrix, U.S., Age 18+ - 2,000 4,000 6,000 8,000 10,000 12,000 Jun-2014 Sep-2014 Dec-2014 Mar-2015 Jun-2015 Sep-2015 Dec-2015 Mar-2016 Jun-2016 Unique Visitors (000) Apps Mobile Web +82% vs. 2014 +45% vs. 2014 “Mobile web audiences are almost 3x the size and growing 2x as fast as app audiences.”
  10. Let’s Encrypt is a free, automated, and open Certificate Authority.

    We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. We're running a crowdfunding campaign to support our operations, please consider contributing now! Get Started Donate FROM OUR BLOG Nov 1, 2016 Launching Our Crowdfunding Campaign Today we kicked off our first crowdfunding campaign with the goal of raising enough funds to cover about one month of our operations - $200,000. Read more Oct 27, 2016 Our First Grant: The Ford Foundation We are proud to announce that The Ford Foundation has awarded us a grant to help our growing operations. Read more Oct 24, 2016 Squarespace OCSP Stapling Implementation MA JOR SPONSORS Documentation Get Help Donate ▾ About Us ▾
  11. { name: "Cloud Four", short_name: "Cloud Four", description: "We design

    and develop responsive websites and progressive web apps.", icons: [ { src: "/android-chrome-192x192.png", sizes: "192x192", type: "image/png" }, { src: "/android-chrome-512x512.png", sizes: "512x512", type: "image/png" } ], theme_color: "#456BD9", background_color: "#FFFFFF", display: "standalone", orientation: "natural", start_url: "/", gcm_sender_id: "482941778795" } Manifest files are simple JSON documents
  12. Konga • 92% less data for initial load, vs. native

    app • 82% less data to complete first transaction, vs. native app • 63% less data for initial load, vs. previous mobile web experience • 84% less data to complete first transaction, vs. previous mobile web experience Source: Google, http://bit.ly/2f64lRo
  13. eXtra Electronics • 12% click-through rate • 100% more sales

    from users arriving via web push • 4x increase in re-engagement Source: Google, http://bit.ly/2eqSf18
  14. 5miles • 50% decrease in bounce rates • 30% increase

    in time spent on site • 30% better conversion for users who arrived via Add to Home screen Source: Google, http://bit.ly/2eqS5a6
  15. Billions use browsers that support PWA features Safari has hinted

    at supporting service workers which is the most critical feature.
  16. AliExpress • 104% for new users across all browsers in

    conversion • 82% increase in iOS conversion Source: Google, http://bit.ly/2fq2ckc
  17. Progressive Web Apps Simply Make Sense 1. Not every customer

    or potential customer will install your native app. 2. You should provide a secure site or app for your web customers 3. You should provide a fast experience for your web customers 4. Your web customers would benefit from an offline experience 5. Your web customers might benefit from push notifications 6. You can create a text file and some icons for a Web Manifest
  18. When it comes to visual design and interaction patterns, start

    by forgetting everything you know about conventional web design, and instead imagine you’re actually designing a native app. —Owen Campbell-Moore, Designing Great UIs for Progressive Web Apps
  19. It’s important to pay attention to detail here since native

    apps have given users expectations around touch interactions and information hierarchy which are important to match to avoid creating a jarring experience. —Owen Campbell-Moore, Designing Great UIs for Progressive Web Apps
  20. What happens when you remove browser chrome? display: "standalone" display:

    "fullscreen" status bar navigation bar No URL, tabs, or menu
  21. Full screen does have hidden controls Pull down for reload

    Swipe from bottom for navigation bar
  22. Adding a back button is harder than it seems •

    Manage the browser history so back button goes to right location. • Back button in an app often implies a hierarchy, not simply going to the last screen you were on. • Do you rearchitect your site to create an app hierarchy?
  23. Where does this button go? Does it do the same

    thing as the browser back button? Should there be an app back button?
  24. .backButton { display: none; } @media (display-mode: standalone), (display-mode: fullscreen)

    { .backButton { display: block; } } Display mode media query
  25. Not every customer or potential customer will add your Progressive

    Web App to their home screen …but every visitor will install your PWA!
  26. App Shell means first paint happens quickly No PWA, No

    App Shell, 4G PWA with App Shell, 4G
  27. Personally, I’m not a fan of the app-shell model. I

    feel that it prioritises exactly the wrong stuff—the interface is rendered quickly while the content has to wait…I also notice it being used as a get- out-of-jail-free card, much like the ol’ “Single Page App” descriptor; “Ah, I can’t do progressive enhancement because I’m building an app shell/SPA, you see.” —Jeremy Keith, Regressive Web Apps
  28. Four questions for PWAs 1. How much does your design

    match the platform? 2. What impact does going chromeless have on UX? 3. To App Shell or not to App Shell? 4. What part of your site should be made into a PWA?
  29. Progressive Roadmap to a PWA {manifest} https Jul 13 •

    Redesign launches • Better security with HTTPS • Faster site via HTTP/2 • Better bookmarks via manifest Oct 3 • Faster pages • Offline fallback • It’s a PWA! service worker Wrench by Tony Gines from the Noun Project Oct 18 • Offline pages • Offline indicator • Improved font loading Nov 22 • Push notifications • HTTP/2 Link Preload Dec 7 • Small tweaks • PWA announced