You may not be familiar with the jargon of the web and all this emerging technology nowadays but, more than likely, you’re familiar with the results with the Denver web design process. Does the term native app ring a bell? I’m guessing not being that it’s mostly a term used in the tech world for people who actually build apps. No matter though, a native app is simply any app you install directly onto a mobile device from either the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. Anything from the Facebook app to the Notes app on iPhones are native apps, meaning that they’ve been built specifically for a tablet or a phone. These apps are built in a specific language to work on your tablet or phone that accomodate features that native apps are known for like push notification. No doubt, you know what a website is. Have you ever noticed that when you look at a website on your phone you never receive push notifications after closing the browser out? That somewhat sums up the difference between websites and native apps (that’s not close to being everything but the idea remains), depending on what features you want to implement, your project had to be built a specific way. This creates a gap between websites and native apps, making it highly expensive and far more time consuming to create 3 (website, Android app, iOS app) different versions of the same thing to deliver the same product all for the sake of ease-of-use for consumers.
You may not have noticed the differences really or at least spent time contemplating them, why would you? Well, luckily for you, Google has been. It doesn’t seem to be very well known, at least it’s not major news, but for some time Google has been pushing something they call Progressive Web Apps. Don’t get me wrong, these have been around for a bit of time now but have taken awhile to really gain some popularity. We can see this with the latest update to Google Chrome (Chrome 73) in which Google has started integrating in the feature to download the Progressive Web App (PWA) version of certain sites to your desktop. I checked to make sure my Chrome version was updated and the feature was not on there yet but this could be due to more of a soft rollout for the feature since it’s a limited number of sites that have a PWA version. None-the-less this is a pretty big step for the web.
- Save on Data
- Although it has been years since saving data was really the big thing when it comes to smartphones, there are still lots of people in the world that want to save on data since it seems that more and more companies have been shying away from unlimited data plans. Yes, they do still exist but are not as prominent as they once were. This is especially the case in less developed countries or in more remote parts of countries where data is harder to come (or loads incredibly slow). Progressive Web Apps tend to use far less data and due to pristine caching abilities will actually have content to load for those places with slower connections so that consumers can still look through catalogs or products.
- Low Cost Development
- When the thought of creating a native app comes to mind for most start-ups, it’s pretty exciting. This could be the thing that gets a company off the ground. That is, until they see the price point. The tricky thing with developing a native app is that it has to be developed for both Android and iOS which require two different types of programming languages, meaning, that not only does the cost go way up but the development time is significantly increased. Generally, from what I’ve seen (and depending on the features needed) a native app for both platforms can range anywhere from $60,000 to $120,000 (on the cheaper side) but if a progressive app is created instead of native apps then the price can drop significantly to somewhere in the $10,000 to $20,000 range. It’s not that 10 to 20k isn’t a large amount of money but the difference in price is vastly significant especially if you’re in a position of having limited resources starting out. ***These are not exact quotes so don’t take them to heart, these are rough estimations to provide an example.
- Happier Consumers
- The number one problem that people tend to experience today when going on a website or app is the amount of time it takes to load. I’m serious. Google’s actually found that a majority of people will actually leave a site if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds. I know that seems incredibly fast but with a Progressive Web App, this will no longer be a problem. It’s actually a big reason why some companies are starting to adapt Progressive Web Apps instead of native apps. With PWA’s loading so fast, people are less likely to turn away from your site or app and are more likely to make purchases or continue long-term use.