In this modern day and age, we are all very much accustomed to using apps on a daily basis.

We use native apps on our phones for waking us up, planning appointments, tracking our fitness, speaking with our friends, checking public transport times, the weather, the news… the list is endless! It is for this reason that companies are often drawn to developing Apps for their customers, because it allows for better interaction with those customers, or at least that is the theory.

One of the problems with Apps is that they are very expensive to develop and maintain, especially as they have to be developed for multiple platforms i.e. Android and iOS. Another significant drawback is that it is often impossible to gauge how useful the intended audience will find the App, or whether it will be used at all. On top of this they are not indexed in the major search engines, so you have to do some level of marketing to create awareness of the App, which again is another cost.

Progressive Web Apps are significantly cheaper to develop, are very easy and cost-effective to scale, are directly integrated by default with your website, and can be indexed by the likes of Google. This makes having an App considerably more cost effective for your business.

If you’re up to date with the latest development technologies then you may have heard about Progressive Web Apps before now, but if not, and you are considering having an App developed for your business then read on.

What Are Progressive Web Apps?

Progressive Web Apps are fundamentally web pages that can look and feel like a native app on your phone. They combine the best functions of mobile apps (offline functionality, background updating, push notifications, shortcut icon) with the accessibility and shareable nature of web pages.

Not only is a Progressive Web App highly functional, it is also at the forefront of modern web page design, utilising the very latest technologies and coding practises. Another significant benefit is that through the use of something called ‘Service Workers’ these Apps can be used both offline and online, making them incredibly accessible. In fact, Google themselves vouch for Progressive Web Apps, stating that they are reliable, fast and engaging!

By combining the best parts of the web and mobile apps, Progressive Web Apps provide a seamless and immersive experience for the user.

What Are the Benefits of Progressive Web Apps?

Now you know what a Progressive Web App is, you may be wondering how it could benefit you. Here are a few reasons why you should consider using a Progressive Web App for your business.

  • Progressive

They are named Progressive Web Apps because they are built with progressive enhancement as their main goal. By nature, they must work on all devices and take advantage of the user’s device and browser which is what makes them progressive.

  • Offline Functionality

As mentioned above, the addition of a Service Worker means that Progressive Web Apps will work on low-quality networks and even offline. The Service Worker essentially allows your device to cache pages and functionality, meaning that they can work without an internet connection, as long as they have been visited/loaded at least once with a connection. The Service Worker also allows the App to take advantage of native device functions, send push notifications and allow background synchronising. These features help to keep your customers engaged.

  • Responsive

Progressive Web Apps are built to fit on all devices, meaning they are completely responsive from the very beginning. This extends the reach of your Progressive Web App and will provide a great user experience wherever a customer accesses it.

  • App-like Feel

Through the use of an Application Shell, Progressive Web Apps can feel very much like using a native app. An App Shell separates the functionality and the content, meaning the ‘shell’ of the Progressive Web App loads before the content. This is then cached, so it instantly loads on repeat visits. This ensures a great performance for the user each time.

To add to the app-like feel, a shortcut to the Progressive Web App can be added onto any device. This provides easy access and background caching, just like a native app. 

  • Easy to share/discover

The main benefit of being a web page that looks like an app is that it can be easily shared and discovered. Progressive Web Apps can be shared through its URL, extending its reach significantly. These Apps can also be indexed by the likes of Google, meaning that you can simply optimise them for additional traffic.

  • No Installation

Users also do not need to download Progressive Web Apps in the app store. This is a considerable benefit, because it has been found that on average an app loses 20% of its users for every step between the first contact and beginning to use the app. Progressive Web Apps limit the number of obstacles between your business and the consumer.

Case Studies

Alongside the many impressive benefits, case studies have also proven that Progressive Web Apps are delivering on their promise. Many popular brands have noted the benefits of Progressive Web Apps and have decided to make the change. It has been found that Progressive Web Apps provide higher user engagement, increased time on page and increased conversions.

For example, India’s biggest e-commerce website watched their conversions increase by 70% when they made the change to a Progressive Web App. User time spent on-site also tripled, and their re-engagement rate increased by 40%.

With stats like that, it’s hard to not be convinced by the allure of Progressive Web Apps.

A few more familiar faces such as Whatsapp, Airbnb and Trivago have also developed Progressive Web Apps for their businesses. Just head to any of these websites to get a feel for how seamless and immersive Progressive Web Apps can be for the user.

Airbnb Progressive Web App

We have recently delivered a Progressive Web App to a Property Maintenance company, who use complex site audit forms to provide engineer assessments. Their engineers visit sites all over the country and often end up in basements, or in areas with little or no signal, so this App allows them to complete the complex forms on their device and submit them quickly and easily on site.

If the engineer has no signal at the time of submission, the App will save the data and submit it once they do have a signal. This Progressive Web App is a massive time-saving tool, which also saves considerably on printing and hand-completing forms. It is one example of how a Progressive Web App can deliver superb functionality in a very practical solution.

To see more case studies of Progressive Web Apps which have provided great benefits for the businesses, you can just head to Google’s case studies section.

So, are Progressive Web Apps for you?

Progressive Web Apps are redefining the way we look at native apps, and even websites. Since 2015 when the term ‘Progressive Web Apps’ was coined by designer Frances Berriman and Google Chrome Engineer Alex Russell, this new web technology has been on the rise. We think the technology is fantastic for businesses that want to take advantage of an App, whilst keeping costs down, and maintaining use of the very latest in scalable technology.

So, if your business is looking to develop time-saving functionality, or a highly interactive customer App, or even a series of forms that can be submitted offline, then we recommend that you take a close look at Progressive Web Apps, as they bring undisputable benefits to many business processes and client interactions.

If you would like to talk to one of our expert developers about a Progressive Web App project then please give us a call anytime, or drop us an email with your project brief and we’ll get back to you as quickly as we can.

No Comply Brands

Do you consider yourself a drinks connoisseur? If so, you may well want to take a look at our latest website!

No Comply Brands are a branded drinks agency who work with small, independent drinks businesses and help them to get their products to a wider audience. Their partners include Two Birds, who craft a variety of English countryside spirits, and Original, who make tonic water that's infused with the tastes of the Mediterranean.

Two Birds Spirits & Original Tonic Water

No Comply asked us to create a dynamic, modern-looking website that would show off these brands in the best way imaginable. We worked closely with them to ensure that the new site met their expectations, and we're pleased to announce that www.nocomplybrands.co.uk went live yesterday. The website includes:

Responsive Design 
No Comply wanted their new site to look just as good on smartphones and tablets as on desktop PCs. With this in mind, our web designers created a sleek, responsive website that adapts to the screen on which it's viewed.

Serving Suggestions
The beverages sold by No Comply's partners are perfect for cocktails, and so the company asked us to build a blog engine into their website to allow them to upload cocktail recipes and share them with followers on social media.
Cocktail recipes
Contact Form
The No Comply website makes it easy for interested parties to get in touch with the company, either via the online enquiry form or via the company's various social media accounts.

Would you like us to create a responsive website for your business? Get in touch now to request a quotation.
ABC Leasing

ABC Leasing are a team of car leasing specialists based in South Wales. They provide vehicles for personal use as well as for professional purposes, and they pride themselves on providing great customer service and making the leasing process as fast and as hassle-free as possible for their customers. 

One of ABC's main aims is to provide a straightforward and transparent service, making it easy to apply for a lease and to find the information needed to make an informed decision. With this in mind, they became concerned that their website was somewhat outdated and difficult to use, preventing them from giving their customers a truly user-friendly experience. This is why they decided to get in touch with Designer Websites with the the goal of creating a sleek new website that would be easy to use and comprehend. They also wanted to improve their website's search engine optimisation, in order to attract more business via Google and other search engines.

Our developers worked closely with the team at ABC to create a modern and user-friendly website, with a variety of helpful features that were custom-built to meet their aims. A primary goal for the new design was to ensure that customers were able to browse and search the full range of vehicles with ease, allowing them to select their desired car or van online. To make this as simple as possible for site users, we developed a sophisticated search system that allows users to refine their search by make, model, vehicle type and budget, granting them the ability to add or omit these specifications according to their preferences.

As well as improving the search function on their website, ABC were also keen to make the application process as straightforward as possible, enabling customers to apply for a lease without having to visit the ABC office in person. Their new website's online application page makes it simple and stress-free for users to apply for a lease on any device, thanks to the responsive design, which ensures that the information is presented on smartphones and tablets in an easy-to-navigate format. There is also an additional enquiry form for people who would like to find our more about ABC before making their decision, allowing them to target undecided customers as well as those who have already chosen to commit.

To view the new and improved ABC Leasing site, please visit http://www.abc-leasing.com/

If you would like to discover how an improved website could enhance your business or organisation, please get in touch with Designer Websites to discuss your requirements.
Jump Factory Website
 
Jump Factory is a brand new trampoline park that's set to open in Basingstoke next month. Situated in a converted warehouse, the park will consist of more than 80 trampolines, plus other installations like a half pipe and a giant airbag.
 
Trampoline parks are all the rage right now, appealing to everyone from mums and babies to trained athletes looking to sharpen their skills. At time of writing, Jump Factory's grand opening is still more than a month away, but thanks to the assistance of our social media specialists, the park is already attracting a lot of attention online:
 
Jump Factory Headlines
 
Amazingly, Jump Factory's Facebook page has already racked up more than 2,200 likes - not bad for a business that's yet to even open!
 
As you can probably imagine, the Jump Factory team are expecting a lot of demand when they open their doors on the 29th of February (leap day, appropriately enough), and so they asked us to design and build a top-quality website that would make it easy for potential customers to learn about the park and book visits online.
 
And, as usual, the Designer Websites team were more than up to the challenge! The Jump Factory website went live earlier this week, and we're pleased to report that early bookings are already flooding in. Jump Factory's website features a colourful, dynamic design that aims to appeal to serious jumpers as well as to families in search of a fun day out; the site is also fully responsive, making it easier for the people of Basingstoke to book their jumping sessions via smartphone or tablet.
 
Responsive vs. Non-Responsive Websites

The development of new technology moves at an alarmingly accelerated rate, and it's important for business owners and web developers alike to keep up with these changes in order to respond to customer demands. One of the biggest changes to how we search and browse the internet today has been the popularisation of portable devices such as smartphones and tablets. We are now able to search for products and services online at any time we wish with practically no restrictions, dramatically changing the way in which we browse and keep up with online content. As a direct result of these changes, website owners need to adapt their sites in order to meet the ever-changing needs of consumers.

This is why responsive web design has become such a popular solution in recent years. Internet users now expect to be able to transfer from one device to another with ease, and well-made responsive websites deliver consistency and adaptability to users while making the lives of SEOs much easier in the process. In this blog post, we will highlight some of the differences between responsive and non-responsive websites, demonstrating why the former option is usually the better of the two.

Images and Loading Times 

Images are a great way to capture a user's attention straight away, which is part of the reason why it's important to include great-quality visuals on any website. A non-optimised website can pose many problems when viewing these images on portable devices, including increased loading times. Responsive web design utilises flexible grids, layouts and images in combination with intelligent use of CSS media queries to address this problem, allowing visuals to appear clearly across a multitude of devices with varied screen sizes. 

Being User-Friendly

As noted above, responsive websites are a great way to prevent images from losing their impact when viewed on devices with smaller screens. This goes for the text and navigation of a website, too; by optimising a website for use on mobile devices, web developers are able to streamline content while making it easier for users to view and navigate the site.

Some would argue that a dedicated mobile website performs better in this respect, particularly in the case of news sites with a lot of written content or ecommerce sites with a variety of functions that are difficult to translate. But here's the problem: due to the fact that every website must found its reputation from scratch, regardless of a separate website being part of the same brand or business, a separate mobile website will struggle to perform well in search engines. A responsive website, on the other hand, can deliver a great user experience across all devices whilst also preserving the site's reputation by keeping everything under one URL.

Pleasing Google and Getting Noticed

Recognition from Google is of vital importance to every website owner, due to the simple fact that high Google rankings drive a lot of traffic. If you're looking to improve your Google rankings, it's important to keep an eye on the bounce rate of each page on your website; a high bounce rate means that users leave quickly because they can't find what they are looking for.

Non-responsive websites often fail to translate content efficiently from one device to another, and this can force mobile visitors to give up on your site very quickly. This is why responsive websites seek to prioritise usability in their design, benefiting both the customer and the website owner by improving the search and share experience. The issue of consistent reputation (see above) is also part of this wider experience, as it once again makes it easier to get your site noticed and ranked higher by Google. Having a single URL for all versions of your site makes it easier for Googlebot to crawl and index the content while avoiding any accidental duplicate content issues. meaning that all positive reactions will be valid on other devices.

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And there you have it: a short guide to the difference between responsive and non-responsive websites, and how they function for users and businesses.

If you would like Designer Websites to create a responsive website for your business, please click here to request a quotation.