The buzz of Progressive web app (PWA) development is rising, with more and more businesses jumping on the bandwagon. If you’re one of them, you want to do it right the first time. With that said, you need a PWA checklist to ensure nothing gets forgotten and everything runs smoothly.
Anyone who is new to this web development technology could get lost in the process. Well, we’re here to make a one-stop shop for your PWA launch preparations!
In this article, you’ll be guided about PWAs today, including the progressive web app checklist and best practices in creating one. Get ready to learn how to create a great experience for your customers!
Why Should You Care About Progressive Web Apps?
Statista reports that there are more than 6 billion worldwide users of smartphones today, and it’s expected to grow up to 7.5 billion in 2025. So, why should you still think about creating a progressive web app?
It’s still debatable whether PWA is better than a native mobile app, but what’s certain is the former is gaining a lot of traction in the industry.
PWAs are considered the next generation of web applications. Unlike traditional websites, they use modern web technologies to deliver app-like experiences and performance to users, creating an improved user experience for everyone.
A PWA is a low-cost, cross-platform solution that doesn’t require installation on any device. Users can access it from any web browser. But what can one progressive web app do for your business?
Here are its advantages:
- Improved user experience
- Increased engagement
- Reduced bounce rate
- Provide offline capabilities
- Faster page load time
- Adaptive design
- Enhanced security measures
Notable e-Commerces businesses that invested in PWA development include Alibaba, AliExpress, and Walmart. PWA technology implementation yielded great results for marketplaces. For instance, George, the leading clothing brand based in the UK, has seen a 31% increase in conversion rate after revamping its old mobile shopping experience with a PWA-powered storefront.
Now, let’s move to the PWA checklist and see what you need to consider for launching your own app!
The Minimal PWA Checklist: 6 Steps to Launch Your Web App Successfully
Although building progressive web apps is easy, it doesn’t mean you should skip planning. Outlining the project requirements and accomplishing everything in a minimal checklist is essential to build a PWA.
And that’s just the beginning!
Bearing that in mind, we’ll provide the necessary minimum of 5 elements that should cover the basic requirements of creating progressive web apps.
1. Create a web app manifest file: manifest.json
In technical terms, a Progressive web app is a website with a manifest file.
A web manifest file is a JSON container that helps PWAs run like native apps. It contains meta data such as the app name, icons, theme color, and other information needed to configure how the PWA will look when installed on the home screen of the device and how it will behave.
The JSON file has to be named “manifest.json” and placed in the root directory of the project. However, some would recommend another file extension, .webmanifest, so you might see this getting used as well.
For example, this is how a simple manifest would look like:
2. Make a service worker script
The next ingredient you’ll need to create a Progressive web app is the service worker. What is it, and how does it contribute to your PWA?
The main purpose of service workers is to handle requests, provide reliable performance, and an app-like experience on the web page. It ensures that the content is always served from the cache first and then checks for an update in the background.
Check out what a minimal service worker (sw.js) looks like here:
As a rule of thumb, a Progressive web app should be served over an encrypted connection (HTTPS). This will protect the data that is exchanged between the app and the user, making sure that all transmitted information is secure.
This feature is essential for PWAs since a service worker requires an HTTPS connection. Otherwise, the browser won’t support a service worker, and the app won’t work as intended.
If you want an easy method to do this, you could try Let’s Encrypt! It’s a free, automated, and open certificate authority that can provide you with a valid SSL/TLS certificate.
4. Design an app icon
Your Progressive web application would not be complete without an app icon. This is the icon that will be used to represent your app on the home screen of any device.
A simple and minimal PWA icon comes in a 512 x 512px. But other PWAs could have icons that come in a variety of sizes. Usually, these are full-on Progressive web apps.
Also, make sure to include the icons in PNG format and add them to your manifest file so they can be recognized by both the browser and the operating system.
5. Make an HTML page
It’s not a major component of PWA, but having an HTML page is essential for your Progressive web app.
What does it do exactly?
It helps create a cohesive and uniform PWA experience and ties everything together. This will be the main entry point for your users when they access your PWA.
For this to work, you have to insert the links for the manifest file and service worker, as well as other necessary scripts like theme color, viewport, and so on.
It should look like this:
6. Test with Lighthouse
Once everything is done, you should do a final test with Lighthouse. It’s an open-source tool from Google Chrome that can be used to audit the performance, accessibility, and quality of your Progressive web application.
It can also give you insights into how to improve the app and make it better for users. Here’s how to do it:
1. Open your PWA in Chrome
2. Go to the Chrome DevTools and open Lighthouse
3. Click on Analyze page load report
4. Review your results
5. Make improvements
By running these tests regularly, you can easily keep track of the performance and quality of your Progressive web apps.
5 Tips & Best Practices in Building a Progressive Web App
We’ve gone through the basics of creating a PWA. But, similar to building a native app, there are many more tips and best practices you should consider when building a PWA.
Designing and developing Progressive web apps doesn’t need to be complicated, and we are here to help make the process easier and stress-free!
Here are some tips and best practices to help you make the process easier:
1. Make sure the design is compatible with mobile and desktop
PWA is a cross-platform web page, so make sure the design looks great and works well on both desktop and mobile devices. But we recommend that you prioritize the smartphone version of your app.
A trusted team of UI and UX designers can help you integrate push notifications and your PWA’s features in an attractive, intuitive UI.
2. Prioritize quality content
If you want to make your PWA to be SEO-friendly, then you need to make sure that the content is high-quality. A well-structured and optimized website will help your app rank higher in search engines and get more organic traffic.
3. Keep it simple
No one likes a complicated and confusing user interface. The goal of a PWA is to provide users with an app-like experience on the web, so keep it simple!
We don’t mean that a skeleton screen should be presented to the users. Instead, focus on making the app as user-friendly and easy to navigate as possible.
4. Avoid adding too many ads
We know how ads help in monetizing your websites. But, too many ads can negatively affect the user experience and cause users to close the app.
Your goal should be to keep ads at a minimum and never let them distract from your content. Find an optimal way to display them and make sure they are not intrusive.
5. Follow the App Shell Model approach
App Shell Model is the recommended approach for designing and developing Progressive web apps. It’s a structure that consists of two parts: the App Shell, which is the core of your app and includes the UI, and the content layer, which contains all of your web page’s content.
With this approach, the App Shell loads first then the content layer is rendered afterward. This will ensure that your PWAs load fast and provide a better user experience.
Let’s Team Up to Create Your PWA!
If you want to stay competitive in this digital age, you need to make sure that you’re using the latest web technologies. As Progressive web apps become increasingly popular, now is the time to create one for your business!
We’re here to help you revolutionize your user interactions!
As a team of highly skilled UX/UI designers and web developers, we’ll make sure that your PWA looks amazing and performs like a charm. With our experience and expertise, we’ll make sure that your PWA delivers an incredible user experience.
So, what are you waiting for?
Let’s get started on making your awesome PWA! Contact us today, and let’s discuss how we can help you reach your goals.