Web App Development and Mobile App Development: A Blurred Line
A recent article in TechTarget highlights a growing trend: web application development is changing. Custom web development used to be noticeably different than mobile app development. Web-based applications did one thing and mobile-based apps did things a little differently. Not anymore.
Today, the line between web and mobile applications is blurring. The resulting output is being termed Progressive Web Apps (PWAs), a website that looks and acts like a mobile app. The benefits many, such as the PWA can leverage native mobile device features without burdening the user. The end user can access features straight from their browser without having to purchase anything or download an app that consumes data. The app is continually updated with the latest version every time it is launched. PWAs are also generally less expensive to build because they can be built faster and only one version needs to be created, as opposed to developing native apps for multiple operating systems.
The Future of Web App Development?
Gartner believes PWAs will take center stage in future application development projects. “While traditional web app development projects will remain viable for some users, PWAs will replace 50 percent of general-purpose, customer-facing mobile apps by 2020.”
What’s driving this shift? User expectations. They want an omnichannel, continuous experience across all of their devices. Google found that 98 percent of Americans switch between devices daily and 87 percent think brands need to do more to provide a seamless experience. If they are shopping on a mobile device and decide to shift to their laptop, they want to see the same navigation, the same graphics and the same features. It can be confusing and create friction if there are multiple experiences.
According to a Forbes article, companies with PWAs are reaping the benefits. “Users of Pinterest’s PWA spend 40 percent more time on the site compared to the previous mobile website. Ad revenue rates also increased by 44 percent, and core engagements shot up to 60 percent. Flipkart saw 60 percent of customers who had uninstalled their native app return to use the Flipkart PWA. LancÔme saw an 84 percent decrease in time until the page is interactive, leading to a 17 percent increase in conversions and a 53 percent increase in mobile sessions in iOS with their PWA.”
This doesn’t mean that web app development will be obsolete. There will be cases where individual web app development is required, but custom web app development companies will need to adapt their strategies, structure and capabilities to include this new push towards consolidated PWA development.