Aleksandrs Hodakovskis

Marketer passionate about PWA

Progressive Web Apps You May Use Every Day

Recently Pinterest announced the launch of Pinterest Lite, a Progressive Web Application aimed to improve user experience for users in low-bandwidth regions in Peru, Colombia, Argentina, Chile and Mexico, by significantly saving the storage space and reducing download time.
Pinterest wasn’t the first to release a PWA version of the service, though. In fact, you may be surprised to discover how many services we all use on a daily basis already have a Progressive Web App.

What is a PWA?

Before we jump straight to the point, let’s first recap what is a Progressive Web App?
A PWA (Progressive Web Application) is a website that has all the features of a native app. Sometimes referred as a “hybrid of website and mobile application”, a PWA is a web-based app developed using Javascript. The integral part of Progressive Web Apps is a service worker — a script that runs separately from a user’s browser in the background, allowing
Progessive Web Apps to provide features like offline browsing, push notifications and other great features, and providing this native app look and feel.
Here’s a list of selected examples of some great services we all use and love that actually have a PWA version.

Twitter

With over 80% of users on mobile, Twitter was among the pioneers of Progressive Web Apps. Way back in 2017, the famous microblogging service introduced Twitter Lite, a Progressive Web App version that combined all the best features of web and native apps.
Seeking to provide better experience for mobile device users, with PWA Twitter ensured instant loading, lower data consumption, and increased user engagement for mobile users.
According to the case study published by Google, after implementing the “Add to Home screen” prompt asking users to add Twitter Lite to their home screens, Twitter has seen 250,000 unique daily users launch the app from the home screen 4 times a day on average.
Putting aside big data-usage savings for mobile devices users, after the launch of the Progressive Web App, Twitter was able to achieve significant
results:
  • 65% increase in page views per session
  • 75% increase in Tweets sent
  • 20% decrease in bounce rate
Following its success, in July 2019 the company announced that it is rolling out a completely rearranged desktop app, borrowing many features from its PWA-based mobile version.

Spotify

Spotify, a digital music streaming service with millions of songs and podcasts, is a great example of desktop Progressive Web Apps run in their own window.
Just like with mobile apps, the PWA technology can provide an exceptional user experience for desktop users.
The best part is that you may not notice a difference!
To install Spotify Progressive Web App on desktop make sure to open the following link https://open.spotify.com?pwa=1 to enable service worker and PWA requirements for allowing the installation.
Progressive Web Apps for desktop are launched same way other applications, usually there’s no visual differences (PWAs run in an independent window, without tabs and address bar), can be accessible via desktop shortcut and uninstallable in the same place as native desktop apps, eventually, creating a “native look and feel” as if you are using regular apps on your computer!

Telegram

This fast-growing cloud-based instant messaging service is another great PWA use case worth mentioning. With over 100 million registered users, Telegram’s web app brings a lightning-fast experience to mobile device users, offering practically the same functionality as the native mobile app version!
Telegram’s Progressive Web App has all the essential PWA requirements:
  • HTTPS
  • Manifest
  • Service worker
  • Offline-ready
  • Android installable
  • iOS installable

Instagram

Instagram, a social networking service for sharing photos and videos, was among the early adopter of the PWA technology. Shortly after Twitter launched its Twitter Lite Progressive Web App, Instagram followed the example and upgraded its web application, now allowing web app users to use functionalities that previously were only available to native app users.
Even though Instagram is still pushing to install the native app from the App Store or Google Play, if you open Instagram’s website using your mobile browser you’ll be served a PWA version of the service, naturally, with all the great features that make PWAs so attractive!
Instagram PWA has web manifest, supports push notifications, is iOS and Android installable and offers majority of functionalities that available on the native application.

Pinterest

Although the company introduced Pinterest Lite app just a few days ago, now requiring only 1.4 MB of space on a user’s device, comparing to 143.1 MB of required storage for a regular app on iOS, Pinterest started to experiment with Progressive Web Apps long time ago.
Focused on international growth, in 2017 Pinterest joined the first PWA trailblazers and updated its mobile app, introducing a new web experience for mobile users.
Updated application led to positive improvements of almost all KPIs. Pinterest was able to increase the time spent up by 40% compared to the old mobile experience, increase user-generated ad revenue by 44%, increase ad click-though rate by 50%, and increase core engagements by 60%!
Image source: Addy Osmani

Curious for more inspiring PWA examples?

There are several websites that will help you to discover great Progressive Web Apps:
This article is an excerpt from Progressive Web Apps you use every day, originally published by Aleksandrs Hodakovskis on Medium on November 1, 2019.

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