Building a digital presence has come a long way over the years, from websites to web apps to apps. The new name on the block this time is Progressive Web Apps (PWA). Proposed by Google Chrome engineer Alex Russell and designer Frances Berriman in 2015, the idea of building progressive web apps has grown in popularity among developers, the web community, tech companies, and organizations.
Before we dive deeper into how this new idea can be great for your nonprofit’s next digital project, let’s understand what progressive web apps are.
Progressive Web Apps (PWA)
Progressive Web Apps are web applications that leverage emerging browser and web development technology to build web applications that fall between apps and websites but are neither any. They use web development best practices and infuse all that with traditional web strategies – to provide users with an app-like user experience. Using PWAs would give the user, the best features of a website, the best experience of a mobile application, and a generally great user experience.
What we should understand is that PWAs are not applications. They are not a set of frameworks or new technologies coming up. They are rather advanced websites that give you the best taste of the world of websites, mobile applications, and even desktop experience – all combined.
This excerpt from FreeCodeCamp can help you understand PWAs better
Have you ever seen an “Add to Home Screen” banner, like above, while browsing a website? When you click the button, the “application” installs itself in the background. When you open this application that now sits in your app drawer, you can browse the same experience you were doing on your browser, but now right in your mobile phone.
What you have now is a mobile app that was downloaded from a web application. All this, without even have to see the face of an app store.
Getting the app was so easy! But that’s not even the best part. When you open this app, you will be able to browse the content even when you do not have internet. You have offline access to the app! How cool is that?
What you’ve come across is a Progressive Web App (PWA).
The case against websites
a). While almost half of the world’s population has access to the internet, the speed is still slow in many parts. Some are still on 2G and others even use dialups to access the internet. This makes loading websites or downloading apps slow.
b). If you can’t get your nonprofit’s messages to people through your website because they may have slow internet, you’re bound to lose not just donors, but also volunteers and partners in this highly digitized world.
c). Building a website that’s capable of being compatible with different browsers and work offline is a daunting task. Even so, websites cannot provide mobile app-like capabilities to visitors.
Why your nonprofit should build a Progressive Web App over a website
Speed and reliability
First off, PWAs are known for their speed, their ability to cache data fast, and also work offline. This means that even with slow internet connectivity, your nonprofit’s visitors will enjoy a smooth and fast user experience – which in the long-term boosts your visits.
PWAs are great at leveraging browser features to give visitors the best of experience and functionality. Also, they’re able to make the most of mobile app capabilities including camera, location through GPS, and many more.
PWAs are A2HS-ready
The A2HS-readiness of PWAs give users the capability to add shortcuts to their home screens either on mobile or on desktop. This gives your visitors a complete mobile app capability and experience, as well as enhances load time.
Saves time and money
With limited resources, nonprofits that are able to build a PWA will be killing two birds with one stone: thus having the capabilities of a website (a more advanced one of course) and a mobile app in a single platform. This saves your nonprofit time and money since you don’t have to build different apps for different platforms.
The following stats provide a glimpse of the many benefits your nonprofit will enjoy with a PWA.
- Trivago saw a 150% increase in engagement for people who add its PWA to their home screens.
2. Uber’s PWA was designed to be really fast even on a 2G network.
3. Pinterest redeveloped their mobile site as a PWA and found an increase of 60% in its core engagement.
4. BookMyShow’s PWA loads within 3 seconds and it saw an increased conversion rate of more than 80%.
How to build a progressive web app for your nonprofit
Building a progressive web app requires nonprofits to hire developers with the best experience in the industry. At IndieTech Solutions, we have presided over some of the best websites and PWAs over the years, and are ready to take your project and give your visitors the best of experience.
Reach out and let’s work together.