Common Design Principles for a Progressive Web App

Oct 21, 2019

Introduction

The modern web utilizes a set of common standards that make the experience consistent across all web browsers on all devices.  The combination of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript can deliver an immersive, robust user experience when used in conjunction with an up-to-date web browser.  As these practices have been standardized, web browser vendors have responded by providing enhanced user experience technologies including offline application experiences, push notifications, and access to device hardware such as cameras, microphones, and speakers.

As the distinction between the capabilities of a well-programmed “web page” and a device-specific mobile app have blurred, a new term has emerged to describe these robust, immersive, and high-performing web applications: Progressive Web Apps (PWA).

Common Design Principles for a Progressive Web App

There are common design principles that a PWA should exhibit:

  • Progressive: The basic functionality of a PWA should have the ability to perform its new functionality seamlessly with all versions of web browsers.
  • Installable: When added to a mobile device, the launch link for the PWA should be available on the device home screen similar to the launch icons for native mobile applications.
  • Responsive: The PWA should adjust its display and functionality to be compatible across multiple device screen sizes and browser implementations providing a consistent user experience at all times.
  • Network-independent: A PWA should provide functionality resistant to network connectivity interruptions.  A well-designed PWA should work in offline states or when network connections are interrupted or unavailable.
  • Secure: The PWA should protect the data transmitted across networks and should shield application information from third-parties.
  • Discoverable: The PWA should utilize an application manifest structured in specific format that allows the search engines to easily index information about the app.
  • Linkable: A PWA should be shareable via its URL. This is one of the best principles of a PWA: installation by the simple launch of a URL without having to download or authorize an installation from an app store.

With these common design principles, Progressive Web Apps can offer an engaging, fresh, and user-friendly interface that employs modern mobile app conventions including push notifications and access to platform hardware to provide rich data access. PWAs are important, cost-effective tools for creating and distributing mobile apps in competitive industries.  Contact the UI/UX and mobile app creation experts at TechArk today to learn about how our team can build a PWA for your next big idea.

References:

Google Background on Progressive Web Apps

Mozilla Developer Network’s Introduction to progressive web apps

Google Lighthouse Tool

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