Progressive web applications have become one of the trendiest technologies of 2020. Gone are the day when native mobile apps were businesses’ and brands’ best bet to success. Now, user behavior has changed, and we see a decline in mobile app downloads except entertainment and gaming applications.
This is where PWA plays an important role. Whether they will replace native apps entirely is yet to be discovered. However, they are being preferred over them, that is for sure.
So, for those of you who are confused about PWA – let’s understand them first.
What are Progressive Web Apps?
They are web apps that behave like native apps, in a nutshell. So, this means that they use the same resources as that of a native app, like push notifications, working offline, and more. Hence, with an app like a shell, they can also be placed on your phone’s home screen for quick access.
They provide great benefits, as well. Some of them are:
- Higher conversions
- Enhanced user engagement
- Better security
- Higher reach and visibility
- Power to rank on search engines.
- Stable and smooth performance over weak networks
Pretty smooth! The web has become powerful and much evolved than a few years back. Now, consumers prefer such web pages over actual apps that eat away their phone’s battery and space. eCommerce progressive web apps have seen a tremendous hike in their overall conversions. Take Alibaba as an example. After investing in a progressive web app, their conversions increased by a whopping 76%. Moreover, with the feature of PWA to be added on the home screen – Alibaba experienced 4 times higher engagement.
So, what does that tell us? That people still want to experience an app like environment but not actual apps. They’d rather explore the web applications that do not take phone space and can also work offline.
Now, enough about how great they are and let us talk about their UI/UX design tips.
Best UI/UX Design Tips for PWAs
1) Have a Design that Suits Both; Desktop and Mobiles
Since PWAs are for both devices, you need to design your UI and UX around it. Of course, since the main purpose of PWA is to be accessed via mobile, its design should be highly adjusted in that regard.
You can Twitter for an example. For desktop, you may extend certain elements to fit the screen. Those elements include: extending the grid and adding more graphical elements.
As for mobile PWA, there is much planning to do. Make sure your most crucial content is defined. The navigational bar is well-planned and not messy. Overall it should serve the best user experience. A de-cluttered and precise experience.
2) Maintain Same Scroll Position
This is very important in PWAs. Once a user, let us suppose, clicks on an item to view more details; the user should be able to go back to the same page and the same position where it left from.
So maintaining the previous scroll position is important. Therefore, the going back functionality is integral for PWA. No one wants to be redirected to the start of the page and not where they left off. It is annoying and hurts user retention.
3) Display Interaction with Colors
Users should be able to see the difference when they tap on an element. It is a great way to show the app’s interaction with its movements. Such responses can be shown with a change of color or an animated pop.
However, make sure such touch feedback isn’t too sensitive and doesn’t get initiated with a wrong click or touch.
4) Add a Splash Screen
A Splash screen or launch screen is displayed when the app loads. This is what brings your PWA closer to how native apps behave. Brands or companies display their logo on splash screens to increase familiarity, reach, and visibility.
So, invest in your splash screen design and make it as best as you can. You can even add a little oomph by showing the progress of app loading, so users don’t get annoyed; that is if your PWA takes some time to load. This is a great trick to help users be patient and look forward to the load.
Make sure you don’t go overboard and embrace simplicity. An eye-catching yet simple splash screen design is a perfect balance.
5) Design an Awesome Home Screen Logo
You need to understand that one of the best features of PWAs is the ability to sit on your home screen with a logo, just like a native app. This logo increases accessibility to your app and its visibility – so make sure you do a great job with the logo.
Your logo should be about your app, clean, eye-catching, and unique. This logo will define your app across all platforms. Hence, making sure that the design, color, and shapes are all perfect is important.
6) Faster and Smooth Page Loading
Make sure all images on your web page are allocated image tags that have the necessary dimensions of the image. Let’s assume the network is slow, which is why not all images on your page load. This is where a browser can layout the screen even if the image is unavailable or not loaded.
If this isn’t done, then the content will be moving when the images do download finally; So it results in a poor user experience, which we need to avoid.
So, make sure you are displaying a placeholder where the image should be. This placeholder could be a grey square or a blurred thumbnail.
Progressive Web Apps are not just the trend but the technology that is making big waves. So, to have a competitive edge over the growing PWAs, you need to hit the UI/UX design on the mark. There are great software development companies in Houston that can take on the challenge of producing state of the art PWA with the best design details. So be sure to invest in the right firm.