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June 21, 2016

Progressive Apps

Beyond the tab: bringing content to users’ home screens

Join the browser evolution, and move your content from your customer’s tabs to their home screens with progressive apps.

What are progressive apps?

Progressive apps are sites that begin life on your smartphone in the Chrome or Opera browser.

After the browser detects that the user visits the site regularly, the user will be prompted to add it to their home screen as an app. An app icon appears on the user’s home screen as a shortcut to that particular site. The progressive app appears like other apps on the smartphone, giving users a native, app-like experience.

To see an example live, go to www.flipkart.com on your Android device.

Currently Android devices with Chrome or Opera are the only smartphones that can run progressive apps. The reason being several of the offline features for progressive apps are supported by service workers, defined below, which were created by Google®. If an iOS user encounters a progressive app, they will be redirected to the App Store.1

Users with iOS can learn about the flipkart example here:

 

How Google® defines progressive apps2:

Google considers progressive apps to be reliable, fast, and engaging.3 Progressive apps are a combination of the best qualities mobile sites and apps have to offer.

Responsive: Progressive apps are able to fit any form: desktop, mobile or tablet. Progressive Apps

Connectivity independent: These apps are able to work offline thanks to progressive enhancements known as service workers, which are scripts that run in the background.4

App-like: They feel like an app to a user because of the ability to navigate and interact with them.

Fresh: Progressive apps are always up to date.

Safe: HTTPS is used to keep the connection between content and users secure.

Discoverable: They are identifiable as ‘applications’ allowing search engines to find them.

Re-engageable: Progressive apps include features like push notifications making re-engagement easy.

Installable: Downloading directly to a user’s home screen eliminates the need for an app store.

How you benefit

So how will your organization benefit by using progressive apps?

  1. First, you’re meeting the user where they are, which is on your site.
  2. Second, you’re reducing the risk of losing users through the hassle of the app store by allowing downloads straight to users’ home screens.
  3. Third, you update your content just as you do for the web. Modern users live on their devices; your websites and apps should as well.

Today’s customers are looking for a mobile-first experience. Give them the best of both worlds with progressive apps.

 

Sources:

[1] http://gonehybrid.com/are-progressive-web-apps-the-future-of-mobile-apps/

[2,3] https://infrequently.org/2015/06/progressive-apps-escaping-tabs-without-losing-our-soul/

[4] https://medium.com/google-developers/instant-loading-web-apps-with-an-application-shell-architecture-7c0c2f10c73#.m26n2ogyv