As experts advise, using the PWA checklist as a baseline is a must to identify a standard Progressive Web App. This is a brief explanation of what makes a good PWA. For this reason, in this part, we would like to introduce our suggested PWA checklist that tells you the considerable criteria, or in other words, PWA requirements that you should take into account to develop a basic PWA.
1. Speedy Page Load Time
The website’s performance is critical to the success of any online experience, leading to a need to prioritize user-centric performance indicators such as page load time. This is one factor that has greatly impacted search engine rankings, especially when Google uses speed as an element for mobile searches since 2018 and desktop searches two years later. This means that it directs the web users to faster their online content.
Further, page load time optimization has a huge amount of influence on customer contentedness, which significantly affects conversion and bounce rates. Customers appreciate apps that respond to their interactions in a flash and provide a consistent experience.
They are always more pleased and more likely to convert from interest to sales if they can make the purchase quickly. Considering that more than half of all visits are abandoned if a mobile page takes longer than 3 seconds to load, this constitutes a substantial missed opportunity for many websites.
According to statistics, PWA can stand in comparison with a native app in this aspect. Therefore, an ideal PWA should meet the requirements of an instant page load feature.
Many developers put load speed as the first criteria on their PWA checklist.
According to Google, although your web page may not need to load within the suggested timeframe, you should prioritize above-the-fold content while the remainder of the page loads in the background. This means that your server response time should be less than 2 seconds, and the above-the-fold content on your website should render in another 2s.
2. Browser Compatibility
Another of PWA requirements is browser compatibility, or peak it another way, the quality of being accessible and fully functional on any browser. Since PWAs are web apps, they must be able to work across browsers. If not, they could be plagued with glitches on several browsers, causing dissatisfied experiences for those browsers’ users.
It is extremely vital to note that your users will interact with your PWA across a variety of devices and browsers. For example, to target a wide range of customers, you need to ensure that your PWA is able to be accessed either from Safari or Chrome.
3. Screen Size Responsiveness
A standard PWA must have the adaptability to any device, no matter its screen size is. Even on the same device, users may want to see your content at different size ranges. Thus, PWA content needs to be clearly visible and flexibly rearranged, and its functions need to be usable at any viewing size.
Starting from general to details, from big to small, can improve the design of a website. You should also prioritize the most valuable data and functions by making them well-displayed on the site. Speak it another way, you should apply a content-first design and a content-out layout to your pages.
Coming to mobile web design, you can use Google’s mobile-friendly test to evaluate your site’s responsiveness on mobile based on several factors such as the viewport issues, horizontal scrolling, the site’s ability to scale, suitable font, text size, and touch elements.
Believe us, Google will give you handy advice that will aid you in improving your site’s performance.
4. Connectivity independence
Because PWAs are enhanced with Service Workers, they’re able to work even in offline conditions. Every user expects an online experience that is not depending on the internet connection, especially when they have to do actions such as filling in long and repeated information.
For example, when a customer is in the last step of completing the purchase order suddenly runs into the situation of connection loss for a few seconds, which makes all the information that he typed go blank. Do you think this causes any annoyance and affects his purchase decision?
This is the reason why in recent years, businesses tend to create offline content for their apps. For instance, music, video, and podcasting apps offer their users offline playbacks; social and news apps offer material that can be read offline. For users, an offline PWA gives a more real app-like experience.
When users are offline, keeping them in your PWA with a bespoke offline page that has been cached instead of reverting to the default browser one delivers a more seamless experience. This can be done during a service worker’s install event.
You’ll need to make your content available and adaptive to offline circumstances after determining which functionalities your users anticipate to work offline.
You can also utilize IndexedDB, an in-browser NoSQL storage system, to store and retrieve data, as well as background sync to allow users to execute actions while offline and defer server communications until they reconnect. Another way is to employ service workers to store various types of content for offline usages, such as photos, video files, and audio files, and create secure, long-lasting sessions.
Installability is a key feature that makes PWA similar to a native app. PWA can be launched from the shortcut icon on the device’s home screen (either on desktop or mobile), appear in the task list, and operates in its own app window distinct from the browser, just like a regular app.
When a PWA transitions from a tab on a browser to a separate app window, it changes how users perceive and interact with it.
The website may need the following things to be installable:
- A web manifest that has all of the required fields filled in
- A secure (HTTPS) domain
- A representing icon
- A service worker to enable the PWA’s offline working mode (required only by Chrome for Android currently)
Even though PWA’s look and feel just like a native app, it’s still a website at its heart. PWA is navigated by using a bookmark or typing the URL. This means that PWA needs to be discovered online via search engines such as Google or Bing.
To improve this feature of your PWA, you can start by making a distinct title and meta description for each page’s URL. It’s vital to ensure that the canonical URLs exist for your content and your site can be indexed from search engines.
In addition, you can utilize Lighthouse’s Search Engine Optimization audits and Google Search Console to debug and fix discoverability issues with your PWA. Also, you can leverage the webmaster tools from Bing or Yandex and consider incorporating structured data in your PWA via Schema.org schemas.
In terms of PWA security requirements, HTTPS is the benchmark. If a page does not operate on HTTPS, it does not qualify as a PWA. Moreover, many PWA core technologies, such as service workers, require HTTPS. Thus, it’s a must to make certain that your PWA is developed using this protocol.
There are typically two approaches to get HTTPS working in your web app as follows:
- Taking SSL/TLS certificate
- Proxying all requests via several services
8. User re-engagement
Talking about PWA, people often mention its ability to re-engage users with the push notifications function, which makes it operate similar to a mobile app. The real-time messages sent to the device’s notification bar keep PWA users notified of the company’s latest news, which motivates them to open the app to review that information.
Therefore, it’s pivotal to add PWA push notifications to your PWA checklist.
This function of PWA works by using service workers and the push API. It is advised that instead of displaying the notice right away, it should be displayed only after getting user permission by showing them option buttons. For example, “Yes” or “No” buttons to answer the question “Would you like to receive notifications from this site?”.
Although developing a standard PWA is simple, testing all its features based on this PWA checklist is the first step. By creating user experiences that combine the reach of the web with the capability of native apps, PWA seems to be the future of e-commerce. Hence, going the extra mile to utilize this technology’s benefits fully is well worth the effort.