Progressive Web App Feature: Pinterest

Jillian MacNulty Picture

by Jillian MacNulty | Last Updated: Aug 30, 2018

The Progressive Web App. It’s the new mobile tech that’s allowing brands to provide the highest standard of mobile experiences to their customers, whether they’re browsing online stores, scrolling through social feeds, or booking their next vacation. Brands across all industries have caught on to the new mobile tech that allows them to provide a fast, reliable, and engaging user experience–all without an app store download. It’s the most frictionless mobile web experience you could provide, which is exactly why popular “pinning” site–Pinterest–turned to the power of PWAs when they noticed some serious UX issues . The Problem Back in 2015, the Pinterest engineering team took a good, hard look at their mobile web experience and realized that it was...“terrible” (their words, not ours). With the majority of their users not located in the U.S. and many of them dealing with low-bandwidth, their current mobile web experience just wasn’t stacking up speed-wise. And since the mobile web experience didn’t perform well, the conversions on its “Download the Pinterest App” CTA were abysmal. The PWA Enter: the future of the mobile web. PWAs are known for their speed and connectivity even in low-to-no service areas, so the Pinterest engineering team began converting their mobile web experience to a PWA in the summer of 2017, and rolled out the completed PWA to all users in February of this year. The Pinterest’s PWA mirrors the native app experience almost identically, allowing users to browse and upload pins, manage their boards, and more. It even has native-like features, like night mode and notifications. The Results Pinterest’s user-first mindset paid off big time. Their PWA saw the following results when stacked against their previous mobile web experience: And, since PWAs are made to be saved to the home screen and re-accessed just like a native mobile app, the Pinterest PWA saw an average of 800,000 weekly users launching from the homescreen. The technical results were just as impressive. Pinterest’s PWA scored highly across the board in Google’s Lighthouse audit–putting them in the top 2 percentile of each category. And the piece de resistance for the Pinterest PWA: the speed. Remember the engineering team’s original problem of providing a fast experience for even those low-bandwidth users? Their new PWA has a First Contentful Paint time of 1.3 seconds–and when testing out the PWA for myself, I noticed a huge decrease in load times as compared to even their native app. The time from clicking on a pinned item to seeing the expanded item’s screen is nearly instantaneous. Pinterest users now have immediate access to a lightning fast, frictionless mobile web experience, and with so many users already saving and re-accessing the PWA from their homescreen, I wouldn’t be surprised if more people join me in deleting the native app altogether! Try it for yourself (on mobile, of course), and let us know what you think!

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