5 Misconceptions about PWAs

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by Michelle Lawrence | Last Updated: Feb 25, 2020

If you’re a loyal follower of our blog (thank you, by the way), you may have caught on that Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are one of our favorite things to talk about. But just because we love talking about PWAs, doesn’t mean everyone is on the PWA bandwagon. There’s some confusion as to what PWAs actually are and how they work. So stay tuned as we debunk five misconceptions about PWAs!
  1. Progressive Web App Is Synonymous With Native Mobile App Let’s quickly define what a Progressive Web App is first. PWAs are web experiences built with the highest standards of user experience in mind. Put simply, PWAs have everything you love about native apps minus the app store download. So yes, mobile apps probably come to mind when you think of PWAs...but they can be mobile websites too because they’re hosted behind a URL. For example, have you ever browsed the West Elm website on your mobile device? Surprise! It’s a PWA. So PWAs aren’t synonymous with native mobile apps, they’re their own mobile player.
  2. PWAs Don’t Function like a Native App Contradicting the previous misconception, others believe that because PWAs are web-based, they don’t have the same functionality as native apps. Well, guess again. PWAs are much more than just a simple mobile web experience. Thanks to things such as service workers and web app manifest, the more a user interacts with a PWA, the more native its functionality becomes, including:
    • Saves on the home screen with an icon for easy accessibility;
    • Loses the mobile browser’s search bar when re-accessed from the home screen; and
    • Integrates native phone functionality like camera, AR, and geolocation.
  3. PWAs Are Downloaded from the App Store When’s the last time you downloaded an app from the app store? My guess: it’s been at least a month. I hardly have storage on my phone, so going through a “digital purge” isn’t something I love doing when downloading a new native mobile app. So one of my favorite things about PWAs is the multiple ways to activate them...which isn’t from the app store. PWAs can be downloaded through a URL, QR Code, text, or Near-field Communication (NFC) in a matter of seconds.Want to try one out for yourself? Download the PWA our very own Ally Brettnacher built for Linking Indy Women. To check out the Linking Indy Women app, click here on your mobile device, or text LIW to 317.942.3064. That wasn’t too hard, right?
  4. No One Is Using PWAs Google coined the term PWA back in 2015. Since then, it’s been a butterfly effect with all of the major tech players adopting PWAs. Earlier this year, Chromium Edge announced that they too would fully support Progressive Web App software. These major tech companies wouldn’t spend a lot of time and resources if no one was using PWAs. In fact, it’s the opposite. PWAs can be found everywhere. Spotify, Pinterest, Twitter, and a long list of other brands all have started to see benefits with their PWAs.
  5. PWAs Drive the Same Results as Native Mobile Apps We spend nearly three hours a day on our smartphones. So it’s no longer optional to have a mobile-first experience, it’s critical. The PWA platform was built for the optimal user experience, hence why it’s not a surprise that users love PWAs. They use a fraction of the native app space, fit any device’s screen you’re accessing it on, work offline, and load in less than three seconds. Here’s what major brands witnessed when they developed a PWA:
PWAs have the potential to totally disrupt user engagement on mobile. Download our infographic, The State of Progressive Web Apps: Q1 2020 to discover new updates to PWAs.

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