What Are Progressive Web Apps

Progressive web apps represent a new development web design, and they offer exciting opportunities to both businesses and developers. These new developments could mean that web browsing on mobile devices are about to change in a big way for users and consumers. So, now is the right time to learn a bit more about progressive web apps and what they can do. I have a lot of experience in designing and developing progressive web apps, due to my years of experience working with Avex Designs. Let me share with you what you need to know about progressive web apps. Read on to learn the details of what makes progressive web apps different from ordinary apps.

What Are Progressive Web Apps?

To put it simply, progressive web apps use a whole host of technologies to create a mobile web browsing experience with app-like qualities. They have features that we would ordinarily associate with conventional mobile apps, but function in a mobile browser.

Progressive web apps enhance the web browsing experience using existing technologies. One of the main technologies behind progressive web apps are service workers. According to Google's developer blog:

A service worker is a script that your browser runs in the background, separate from a web page, opening the door to features that don't need a web page or user interaction.

Service workers provide a network proxy which manages requests, and provides the best of conventional apps alongside the best of mobile web browsing. The model used for progressive web apps is called an App Shell. It allows for content to be loaded more quickly, meaning the user won't have to wait forever for the app to load. This is the framework that is used for most progressive web apps.

What Can They Do?

Next, we'll look at what progressive web apps do that makes them stand out from both conventional mobile apps and mobile web browsing. The following is causing more and more developers to believe that progressive web apps are the future of mobile web content.

Progressive Enhancement

Progressive enhancement is one of the strategies that is at the core of progressive web apps. This means that core content is given priority. In practice, when the user is interacting with their progressive web app, the content will display properly, no matter what browser they're using.


Progressive web apps are designed to be responsive. That means that they can fit the requirements and limitations of the device that is being used by the user to browse them. Whichever form the user prefers can be adapted to, and this is another one of the key things that make progressive web apps stand out from the alternative options.

Connectivity Independent

Users don't even have to be connected to the internet to use progressive web apps. This is one of the big things that is brought to the methodology by service workers. They allow for offline browsing, as well as browsing on a connection that might be of a poor or substandard quality. That's not something that would otherwise be possible, so it's a big step forward.


These days, users are accustomed to apps. And the fact that progressive web apps are so similar to apps in how they function, users will have a very similar experience. This should help the new methodology be adopted and accepted by users more readily. They don't have to get to grips with something new and different because it will all already be familiar to them.

Up to Date

The way in which service workers update content means that no manual or automatic updating will be necessary. Everything is kept up to date by the web app itself. Whenever it is opened and used, any new content or improvements that are available will already be there and ready to use.


Progressive web apps are secure and safe, meaning that content can't be hacked and changed. It also prevents snooping by external entities. The reason why this is possible is the use of HTTPS, which they are served by. Safety and security are two issues that users and businesses alike are taking more seriously than ever before, so this development is viewed very positively.


It's possible for search engines to find progressive web apps. This allows for them to be integrated into the SEO landscape in a way that isn't possible with ordinary mobile apps. Businesses and brands can start to take advantage of this and direct more people towards their web apps and stores. This is all down to W3C manifests, which allow identification by search engine algorithms.


Progressive web apps have many of the same benefits as ordinary mobile apps. Engagement is one of the things that apps are good at, and progressive web apps are good at this too. Things like push notifications can be used to make users aware of new offers, deals or news that the owners of the app might want them to know about.


Users don't need to download progressive web apps in the way they do with conventional mobile apps. But they can be kept and installed on browser home pages. This makes them easy to access and return to whenever the user wants to do so. This process is much simpler than having to engage with an app store and oversee downloads and updates through it.


Because of the fact that there is no need for downloads, progressive web apps can be shared via links. This means that if someone finds on that they like, they can easily share it on social media and tell their friends about it via an email. They can spread much more easily than an ordinary mobile app would be able to, which is a pretty big deal.

What Are the Benefits of Using Them?

There are a few reasons why companies are turning to progressive web apps. Now it's time to find out more about those reasons. They offer something different to the current browsing options out there, so read on to learn more.

They Can Save Time for Users

Because of the App Shell that progressive web apps use, they tend to load very fast. So, up to date information can be pulled up and presented to the user in no time at all. This is something that can not be so easily achieved via mobile apps or through mobile web browsing. We're all short of time, and speed is a huge asset when it comes to browsing content on mobile devices.

Not Much Data is Required

Compared to ordinary mobile apps, progressive web apps use very little data. This is important in many ways. First of all, people don't like to use more data than necessary if they're paying for it. And it's an even bigger deal when you look at the use of apps in developing markets where data is at a premium. So, using less of it is definitely a big plus point for progressive web apps over ordinary ones.

Can Result in Higher Conversion Rates for Businesses

For businesses that decide to start using progressive web apps, the benefits can be huge. It's thought that they could even lead to higher conversion rates. Many consumers still don't download companies' apps. And the difficulty of buying items on mobile browsers means that opportunities are being missed by retailers when it comes to online browsing. Progressive web apps could change all that.

No Updates Are Required

When you download an ordinary web app, you have to download updates periodically. This is not necessary when using progressive web apps. All information is updated automatically, which is good for developers and users alike. They simply update themselves in the same way a web page updated when you refresh it, making the process much smoother.

Which Brands Are Using Them?

There are plenty of companies out there that are already taking advantage of what progressive web apps have to offer. For example, the Washington Post has created a version of their website that is a progressive web app. This means that it only functions on mobile devices, and offers the best parts of an ordinary news app combined with the benefits of mobile web browsing. They are not the only company to take this leap either. The time-sensitive nature and interactivity of these progressive web apps make them suited to all kinds of tasks. Google has created a weather progressive web app because of its suitability to displaying content that is constantly changing and need to be up to date. As we move forward, more and more brands will start to use this methodology to create content that meets the needs of customers best. Brands looking to create progressive web apps can enlist a digital agency or development company.

Resources That Will Help You to Get Started

To start creating your own progressive web apps, there are a few things you will need. First of all, you'll have to have a basic knowledge of CSS, JavaScript, HTML and Chrome DevTools. You'll also need a web server and Chrome 52 or higher. Finally, you'll need a text editor. This link should help you when it comes to using App Shell architecture. That's a part of the process that's vital.