Have you ever noticed an “Add to Home Screen” banner while browsing a website on your phone? If you clicked on it, an “application” would install itself in the background so that when you open it later it would appear as if you’re using a native app.

This is what is known as a Progressive Web App (PWA). They load like regular web pages or websites, but offer the user functionality such as working offline, push notifications, and access to device hardware historically only available to native mobile applications.

But what does it mean for a web app to be progressive? Let’s take a closer look at what progressive web apps are, why some think they’re better than native apps, and what differentiates them from traditional web apps.

Today’s native and traditional web apps have many challenges. From unreliable internet speeds (did you know half of the world is still on 2G?), to slow website loads, to a current peak user resistance to downloading apps, to the fact that most users engage 87% of the time with the same 3 apps (Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram).

Progressive Apps Game Changer

PWAs tackle these challenges head on. Since data is cached, apps fire up without first needing access to the network. The experience feels seamless because PWAs behave like native apps, even sending push notifications. They are reliable and engaging by presenting a familiar and intuitive experience that encourages interaction. Plus, since they look like apps, PWAs are indexed by search engines more effectively.

While storage capacity on smartphones has increased over the last decade, most agree that space is still a premium. The beauty of PWAs is that they are not installed, so they don’t take up valuable space on the user’s smartphone.

The versatility of PWAs feels endless and means that they are in the position to win against native and traditional apps before the game has officially begun.