Why a PWA?

A progressive web app (PWA) is a fully responsive web app with app like functionality and device icon presence.

History

A couple years into the development of MealPro App, a hybrid mobile app was developed as a counterpart of the responsive web application. While this is viewed as a success, it did present several challenges.


  • App stores
    • Maintenance of certificates, profiles, etc.
    • Adherence to stringent policies
    • Beholden to a reviewer
    • Forced use of payment platform with extreme rates
    • Spotty support for promo codes
    • Ratings and Review's can giveth, but also taketh away and owners lose control
  • Development
    • Feature development had to be done in two places.
      • Many features have not been rolled out to the mobile app.
      • Time spent developing for the mobile app, was time away from the main web app
    • Build/Release process for each white labeled app
    • Additional tech stacks needed to be supported (Xcode, Android studio, etc.)
    • Hybrid apps require the use of community plugins, furthering the dev stack depth and increasing risk of issues
    • Slower test process

Timing

Support for PWA's has been increasing over recent years, and has reached a point of broad support. The most notable missing component was the ability to use push notifications to iOS devices...as of last year, this is now available.


Why users like "apps"

  1. Presence of an icon on their device
  2. Simple rich experience
  3. No need to remember web site address, or google to find
  4. Notifications they can control
  5. Fast loading...that "app feel"

What business owners need

  1. Search engine presence. PWA's win here as content can be indexed just like other web content. ASO (App store optimization) is another process altogether and is either time consuming, or expensive.
  2. Customer engagement. By having a presence on a mobile device, and using push notifications wisely, business owners can increase engagement and thus extend monetization.
  3. Customer acquisition. We all want more reach for our message, but app stores are not the simplest answer. Most business owners end up driving traffic to the app store, rather than the app store driving traffic to them! Why pay app stores when acquiring the customer has already been done?
  4. Features. From the beginning of Member Kitchens, customers have driven its featureset, so having considerable more time to develop these features AND roll them out in a web and app like manner, means a more robust product for all.

Benefits of PWA's

  • Code once. The code developed for the web app is used in the PWA. Coding once, means features developed for the web, are immediately available by mobile clients.
  • Reduced complexity of technology
  • An app experience, without the app store hassle

PWA's will evolve

PWA's do not have everything, BUT neither do app store apps! There is a trade-off that for Member Kitchens customers lands us with PWA. Here are a few items to be aware of:

iOS limitations

  • Users must have iOS 16.4+ in order to receive push notifications
  • Users can be presented with 1 step instructions to install, but cannot programmatically install like other platforms
  • Email links will not open in the PWA directly, but rather will open in a browser

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