Behold, the PWA

PWA stands for Progressive Web Application, a new approach to developing and sharing applications. At the risk of completely confusing our non-software engineer audience (hopefully most of our readers – that’s why you hired us, after all), we’re breaking PWA down. How it works, why it matters, and why the heck we can’t stop talking about it. 

July 22, 2020

Behold, the PWA

PWA, ETA, BTW. These are acronyms that mean so much more than their letters - and PWA? That’s a whole world to be explored.

PWA stands for Progressive Web Application, a new approach to developing and sharing applications. As a reminder, an app is a computer program or software application designed to function on a mobile device… think Instagram, Slack, or Snapchat. At the risk of completely confusing our non-software engineer audience (hopefully most of our readers – that’s why you hired us, after all), we’re breaking PWA down. How it works, why it matters, and why the heck we can’t stop talking about it. 

The How 

As our lives become more and more entwined with our phones, it makes sense to develop apps with phone functionality in mind - thinking about how a user will interact and relate on a daily basis. 

PWAs combine the great aspects of mobile apps and web development to deliver software suited for mobile but built using web tech like HTML, JavaScript, and CSS.  

The Why

The beauty of the PWA lies in its discoverability and accessibility. PWA’s are designed to thrive as both websites and lightweight featureful apps: they are both instantly downloadable and able to be visited at a web address. There are zero app-store fees and updates only take as long as is required to load a website. Best of all, PWA’s can be designed to work offline, limited only by the native capabilities of the user’s web browser. Anyone who visits your website with a browser that supports PWAs (i.e. Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Safari, Vivaldi, Brave, etc.) can optionally install your app, though it’s worth noting that PWAs are an emerging technology and there is a variable range of support for advanced app features amongst browsers.

At the end of the day, PWA are responsive and friendly websites that play well with phones and deliver a more engaging, user-friendly business and creative experiences. 

Wink x PWA

To put it frankly, we’re stoked about PWA’s. We think they are fun, interesting, and offer a lot of potential. We wouldn’t be surprised if the rest of the tech world sides with PWA over traditional native apps, especially for ecommerce and social media, including newspapers. Cold hard data shows that PWA's are more engaging, resulting in greater conversion rates and significantly better user-engagement.They’re that good. 

Wink Digital can easily step in and walk your business through the creation and execution of an effective PWA. In addition to developing the PWA, we’re able to conduct quality assurance and testing on a regular basis to make sure that your PWA is doing the WORK. 

Is a PWA the right fit for me?

Well, let’s talk broadly about use cases. If you answer “yes” to the following questions, a PWA may be a good fit:

  • Are you thinking about building an app, but want it available to both iPhone and Android users?
  • Do you need user accounts that are tied to purchasing a subscription to a service, as opposed to a product?
  • Is this app always going to be free to download? 
  • Is your app free from interactions with a device via bluetooth hardware? (Hint: PWA’s can’t do this)

And if you answered “no” to any of the questions above, a PWA might not be the perfect fit.

There’s only one way to tell, though! Get in touch with Wink Digital, allow us to scope your project, and provide you with a proposal of how we think your website or app will be best built for success.

Written by Allen Hart, Frontend Developer. Edited by Kat Guerrero, Copywriter.

Wink Digital Square Logo