Web Apps

Web apps are increasingly popular and between a website and an app.

Growing very quickly. Good option if you want to enhance a website

What is a web app?

Honestly, we're not sure! And we don't think anyone else is either. It's a vague term for the grey area between a "proper" app that's downloaded from the app stores and where a large amount of code and content resides on the phone itself, and a mobile-friendly or "responsive" website (where the content is online). Some developers call a responsive website a web app. But they're just wrong... it's still just a website. Our short answer is - it’s an app that can be downloaded outside of the app stores, can work in a browser and do most (but not quite all) of the things proper apps can do.

And a PWA?

A PWA or Progressive Web App is a new class of application that allows users to do some things on their phone on websites that only proper apps used to be able to do. For example access GPS location, upload photos from galleries, work offline and even receive push notifications. Because they are downloaded directly from the website (or anywhere in fact) rather than through the App Stores they are more quickly accessible.

What are the problems with them?

Until recently there was very little alignment across operating systems and devices on what they can do. Apple and Android allow differing access to phone functions and there are even big differences between versions of iOS and Android. And ultimately, although web apps and PWAs can do some things offline, they are designed to be used primarily online so performance can depend a lot on things like internet connection. And there’s an element of trust, credibility and, let’s be honest, snobbiness about having your app on the app stores.

So when are web apps the right option?

People today suffer from "app apathy". Your app needs to be very compelling to persuade them to go to their App Store, download, install and register on your app. If you just want to enhance their experience (for example, sharing photos from a gallery, getting their GPS for deliveries, receiving push notifications) then a web app is a quick, simple way to provide this. If your budget is minimal and you want to test the concept before investing too much, web apps also have a place. But increasingly bots, especially WhatsApp bots, are becoming the preferred "app" solution for users in a hurry.

How will I know if it's the right option?

We will recommend the right approach and platform based on your requirements and the relative strengths of the different platforms.

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