Why Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are so valuable

Progressive Content creators working in a range of industries have found success in the connected world, with the explosion of new channels and tools increasing the opportunities for them to communicate and connect with their audiences. The Rolling Stones are a great example of this –  they created a community platform to share their music and connect with over 250,000 fans around the world.

Our recent research found that 52% of locked down Brits are willing to cut the cord with social media giants such as Instagram and Facebook and would look to community apps dedicated to their particular passion. Evidently, there is consumer demand for such community apps, with the same survey revealing that over a third of individuals want to see dedicated apps from their favourite brands and influencers. More specifically, Gen Z would be interested in joining personal passion communities (54%) and brand community apps (41%).


This dramatic shift has given rise to the passion economy, which gives content creators the opportunity to capitalise on shared interests and establish niche community groups. As trust in mainstream social networking sites continues to fall, the growth of community platforms and apps has skyrocketed. Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are helping to power these passion-driven communities, allowing creators and brands to move away from social media, to create more dynamic and interactive platforms. Unlike native apps which are written to run on mobile devices, PWAs are compatible with on a webpage, allowing individuals to search and access from any device.

Of course, not all of us have the knowledge or capability to create a functioning app. Influencers are relying on professional app developers,costing them time and money to build and maintain their own app. PWAs provide a great solution for this.

What do PWAs offer?

The key attributes that define PWAs can be viewed through two categories that reflect their value; connectivity and a dynamic and engaging user experience.


PWAs offer search engine discoverability and a linkable URL, meaning they’re identifiable as applications, so there’s no friction, zero installation required and they’re easy to share. For any creator, the shareability and power of URLs is significant. The ability for existing users to share your content is essential to the growth of your platform and having a URL alongside your app enhances that sharing function.

PWA’s have an added benefit of a Service Worker, which is essentially a script that runs separately to the main site. The role of Service Workers can play an important role in the development and maintenance of PWAs, they can allow you to reach functions such as cache network requests. As communities grow, platforms collect and store customer data from their web journey – from interactive behaviour to personal and sensitive data.

PWAs are accessed through a web browser rather than any app stores so they can be less costly and allow you to save time compared to native web apps. Alongside that, there is no need for users to download content as they do on a native application, PWAs can be accessed directly through a URL and so content can be accessed much faster and users’ phone memory is not compromised.

PWA’s cater to user demand for flexibility and seamless functionality, allowing individuals to connect and engage across multiple devices, including mobiles, laptops and tablets.

Dynamic and engaging 

PWAs allow users to experience app-like interaction on a web platform, delivering easy navigation and the ability to install to home screen browsers, allowing users to pin and ‘keep’ selected apps, just like those you download from an app store. The responsiveness of PWAs means that creators and users are not restricted by accessibility and the increased flexibility across mobile devices, laptops and tablets ensures that content is not compromised across platforms.

For creators, having fresh content is essential to keep views consistent and audiences loyal. Thanks to the role of Service Workers in the update process, it is easier for PWAs to be updated. PWAs also offer re-engagement UIs which hold functions such as push notifications – a key capability in increasing interaction and building web traffic across platforms. Engagement features significantly differ PWAs from native web apps as push notifications also work in the background so users remain connected with the latest content and updates. As native web apps are still dominant, it is important to note that these push notifications are not yet compatible with iOS as Apple only began supporting PWAs in 2018, however, this is expected to increase and the rollout of 5G networks will only serve to improve mobile device performance.

The future of community platforms

The current software landscape is dominated by native web apps and PWAs have been making some headway in becoming a primary UI with the likes of Google moving Android apps for Chrome OS to PWA. However, the transition and creation process needs to be simplified to help brands and creators make the switch from a native app to PWA. When building your community, you shouldn’t be held back by the barrier of your technical competence.

This is the challenge SaaS players in the industry are looking to tackle and increasingly, these providers are offering self-service models which allow brands and creators to build their own PWA-based communities. The incredible flexibility and control that PWAs offer when compared with traditional social media networks and native apps is undeniable. As the battle for consumer attention heats up, creators and brands will increasingly be forced to reassess what platforms and apps they leverage, and ultimately, selecting those which allow them to effectively engage with their communities with ease.

Designing a Winning E-Commerce Customer Experience

E-Commerce In 2020, an optimized digital customer experience can tip the balance toward gaining a purchase instead of losing a customer. Excellent CX has transitioned firmly from something nice to have to a business requirement.

No matter how good a product or service is, the e-commerce Web and mobile design surrounding it will play a key role in maintaining engagement and ensuring consumers complete their shopping journey. Even the slightest friction, such as poor load speeds, can drive users away from a site, resulting in an immediate lost sale.

In fact, research shows that “53 percent of mobile site visitors leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load.”

E-commerce businesses can optimize their CX by implementing effective design and technology tips and tricks.

E-commerce design best practices alter over time due to shifts in consumer behavior, such as the population increasingly choosing mobile devices over desktop to shop. It often doesn’t matter how good your product or service offering is. If your site looks outdated, or if it is confusing to use from a consumer’s perspective, you’ll lose a sale.

Following are the top features and functionalities for creating an exceptional CX for online shoppers.


1. Dark Mode

Dark mode switches the background of a mobile operating system to black, reducing eye strain in some environments, enabling mobile devices to adjust better to ambient lighting conditions, and (since black pixels on a mobile phone are turned off) extending battery life.

Recently several social media platforms, including Twitter, released dark mode versions of their apps. This practice is expected to extend to e-commerce sites and applications in 2020.

The increase in customers who choose to shop via social media has amplified the practical application of dark mode for e-commerce retailers. When customers are redirected to an external site, dark mode functionality will improve the consistency and reduce friction.

2. Accessibility for All

Designing for accessibility helps e-commerce companies better serve shoppers with disabilities, and avoids lawsuits alleging that sites are not accessible under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

To avoid implementing features that are difficult to use or incompatible with devices required by users with disabilities, designers must ensure that sites are following Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

3. Smooth Navigation

Where does your site’s navigation menu button appear when it’s accessed from a mobile device? Typically, buttons appear at the top left- or right-hand corners of screens, to replicate desktop versions. How useful is that on a mobile device?

Instead, e-commerce sites are starting to position navigation buttons at the bottom of the screen to help ease frustrations and facilitate thumb use, putting the end-user first. This makes sense, as 94 percent of smartphone users hold devices vertically, research indicates.

4. Minimalism and Simplicity

The “less is more” principle applies to e-commerce Web design, and many sites are moving away from intrusive design features such as pop-ups and widgets. Sites with minimal design and a simplified shopping journey allow more white space, opting for relatively larger fonts, and focusing on simple navigation. Too much content and functionality in an industry that is, by nature, image-led is offputting for users and may lead to cart abandonment.

5. Content-Centric Designs

A content-centric design provides information that shoppers need to discover new products or make purchases. Consumers are now “the experts,” because they’re able to research products and services independently. Content-centric design enables this and, in turn, improves the user experience.

It’s useful to remember that 83 percent of online shoppers intend to do something other than make a purchase when visiting a brand’s website for the first time, according to an Episerver report. To give your visitors what they want, fill your website with relevant educational content and offer interactive experiences to build a rapport with your audience. This tactic will help position your brand not only as a vendor that people buy from, but also as a company that really cares about creating a positive connection with shoppers, which ultimately helps you build brand loyalty and more sales.

6. Powerful Microinteractions

If you’re fully up to speed with a user-centric design, you may already be aware of the power of “microinteractions.” This term refers to small, subtle features on a website that grab audience attention.

Microinteractions are the finishing touches that add to the overall experience visitors get at a website. The idea is to help businesses that operate in crowded marketplaces to stand out. They include items such as scrolling visuals, sound effects, confirmation messages, hover animations and transition animations. Another example of a microinteraction is enhancing the view of products, as when informative text is displayed when users hover over an item image. Another is the use of animation to track checkout progression.

Microinteractions add to the overall experience visitors get at an e-commerce site and can be used strategically to push consumers to completing a sale. As technology progresses, more microinteraction capabilities will be available to integrate with any e-commerce site. These features are not brand new, but they became popular in 2019 and are likely to gain more prominence in 2020.

Read More:- 10 Reasons to Invest In POS Software Development

7. Well-Timed Chatbots

Chatbots have come a long way since they were introduced. They once were seen as clunky, automated, soulless systems, but artificial intelligence and machine learning have changed that perception, and they now add a lot of value to sites.

When powered by industry-leading technology, chatbots can help enhance a consumer’s online experience with a brand, provide shopping assistance and answer questions, at any time, which makes them a winner for international e-commerce sites that attract visitors from all around the world in different time zones.

One caveat about chatbots: Use them with precision timing. For example, there’s no point in activating a chatbot when a user has just landed onto a page, as it can cause distraction.

8. Voice Purchases

More online shoppers are beginning to turn to voice for their e-commerce needs. In 2018, 12 percent of online shoppers used voice devices to research multiple times a month or more frequently, Episerver research suggests, and this figure grew to 22 percent in 2019.

When it comes to buying products and services by voice, 17 percent of online shoppers made multiple voice purchases a month in 2019. up from 11 percent in 2018.

A voice-enabled checkout process represents a growing opportunity for e-commerce businesses in 2020, especially for mobile devices. Enabling voice input will distinguish your site from the pack.

9. Personalized Privacy

While it’s clear that personalization provides benefits when it comes to customer experience, privacy now plays a more dominant role in shoppers’ buying decisions. Proactively offering personalized privacy as part of your CX will build trust and transparency between your brand and your customers. For example, send communications and content that educates consumers on how their information is used and stored.

10. Frictionless Checkout

Create frictionless checkout by implementing data and technology integrations that increase speed and convenience for customers.

To make checkouts “frictionless,” you must begin with your data — and this is even more important for e-commerce sites that operate on an international scale. By having access to accurate international address data and offering multiple payments and currency options, you can streamline the checkout process for your users, and optimize checkout flows.

In addition, functionalities such as enabling guest checkout, simplifying form fills, and using predictive type-ahead technology that autocompletes an address as it is being typed can help ease data input and reduce errors.