Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

Brands That Are Switching To Progressive Web Apps For Speed

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Blame it on the job, but I get a bit of a buzz whenever I hear about a big-name brand implementing Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). They’re faster, smaller, and more user friendly than a mobile website or native mobile app, which is why we’re convinced that they’re the future of mobile (and I think we’re in good company, with Google at the helm of the push for PWAs). A few weeks ago, I covered some of the brands I love that are implementing PWAs, and since writing that post I’ve encountered even more brands I already know and love that are taking the dive into the new mobile tech, and this new batch of mobile tech adopters have all built their PWAs for speed. In today’s age of “need it now” consumerism, these brands are using lightning-fast PWAs to meet consumers in their exact moment of need and not a minute later. (And feel free to click into any of the company names to experience their PWA on your own device.)

Uber
Something I love about Uber’s PWA (affectionately dubbed m.uber–pronounced moo-ber–by Uber’s development team) is the fact that it’s all about speed, no matter the network connection you’re dealing with. I know that I personally have been in spotty service areas when trying to request a ride, which can be a pretty big source of stress when you’ve got somewhere to be. It turns out I’m not the only one to experience this, because it’s the reason the Uber development team decided to create a PWA; Uber engineer Angus Croll said the team hoped m.uber would “enable all users to quickly request a ride, regardless of location, network speed, and device”. From the moment you access m.uber, you’re given the option to either load the map for the full app-like experience, or forego loading the map in order to give your load times a boost. The m.uber experience helps alleviate service-related woes and provides an even speedier ride experience.

Trivago
Whenever I’m booking travel online, I always grab my laptop. I find the experience of booking to be easier when I can navigate around a full-sized page–not to mention I’m slightly jaded from a few poorly-designed mobile booking experiences where an accidental tap or swipe led me to exit out of a detailed form and start all over. Trivago may be the booking agent to change that for me. When I accessed Trivago’s PWA on my iPhone, the speed was almost jarring. The response time is instantaneous, without any of the lag I’m used to when it comes to booking sites that are chock-full of photos, data, and links. With an experience so lightning fast, it’s no wonder that Trivago has seen a 97 percent increase in conversions via the PWA. I love this video from Google about the reasoning behind Trivago’s decision to develop their PWA.

“It combines, on one hand, the discoverability and accessibility of a website with the functionality of a native app.” – Rolf Schromgens, co-founder and managing director, Trivago

Instagram
I’ll admit, this is one of the most frequently used native apps on my phone at the moment, so when I heard talk of Instagram’s web experience during one of the keynotes at this year’s Chrome Dev Summit, I was skeptical. I already love the app, so why would I ever feel the need to displace it with a web experience? Well, it was time for me to take a dose of my own PWA-preaching medicine, because I was floored at the speed of Instagram’s PWA. Immediately I noticed significant decreases in load times (which have, oddly enough, been very laggy on the native experience lately), and that alone was enough for me to pull the trigger and save it to my homescreen. As an added bonus, the Instagram PWA allows for use of the native camera just like the native app, as well as push notification capabilities. It’s a web experience that can (and, in my case, did) replace the native app with ease.

It’s an exciting time for mobile tech, with big-name brands like the ones above rolling out PWAs as the new standard for mobile web experiences. There’s no doubt that today’s consumers are always on-the-go, and when they want information, they want it now and not a second later. Brands are catching on to the fact that PWAs increase the speed of mobile experiences significantly, which ultimately makes for happier customers and higher conversion rates. So, the question is…which brands are next?

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