Not long ago, there was a time when the social media behemoth – Facebook was looking to enact its mobile strategy. The choices in front of it were implementing a Responsive Mobile Website (Progressive Web App or PWA) or native mobile apps for mainly Android and IOS. It decided that having a common PWA for different platforms had numerous advantages like; uniform functionality across different mobile platforms, easy maintenance and updation of the code, great control over the version of the code which the user is seeing and many others. Hence, the logical choice was to go the PWA route and that’s what it put its weight being. It even introduced a lot of tools to make it possible. After about an year efforts, it finally gave it up as a thought that the time is not right and the ecosystem of browsers has still to evolve to that extent and it started going the traditional route of Native Apps.
In a separate instance in 2015-2016 many eCommerce companies in India, like Myntra and Flipkart abandoned their mobile websites and showed a landing page for downloading their Android / IOS applications.
Coming Into Its Own
But now in 2017 we are seeing the reemergence and comeback of the mobile Apps. Companies are focused on the Mobile Web more than ever before. The traffic is rising sharply too and even Garner has started covering them. Today for brands the mobile website is perhaps more important than their main website. No longer just a responsive version of the main website is enough a separate fresh thinking pertaining to the mobile is being demanded.
Native Mobile Apps are fantastic to engage already committed customers. Infact, some services like push messaging used to only come to life in a native app. They are, however, at a great disadvantage when we talk about discovering them. Here the mobile web takes the winning flag by a large margin.
Infact, a recent survey by Adobe shows that the budget allocations towards Mobile Websites is increasing rapidly.
Mobile Web – The next level
Now that mobile web is increasingly becoming the first point of interaction with a brand and hence is starting to serve as a top-of-funnel customer experience, it needs to be fantastic. Almost all the main features of a Native Apps are beginning to appear on Mobile Web Apps – like the native application like User Interface, notifications, offline working capabilities, and many more.
According to Gartner’s Wong, “It’s only a matter of time before PWAs become the new standard for web interactions, just as responsive design has become the norm rather than the exception.” Hence, I believe that the Progressive Web Applications are the future of the mobile web which, in turn, is largely the future of the web and the bulk of customer interaction. Although we would still have to solely rely on native applications for large applications, at-least for the time being.