In our mission to meld pioneering technologies with geospatial intelligence, we have implemented Progressive Web App (PWA) capabilities into our product Geomarketeer. Geomarketeer is a market segmentation tool that visualises your market on a micro level to enable smarter business decisions. While market insights are usually available maximum up to pin code level, Geomarketeer divides the market further into 250x250m grids. We decided to implement PWA capabilities to Geomarketeer to optimise its performance across devices.
PWAs are a blessing to mobile web developers and users who want a native smartphone experience. A native smartphone experience involves complete access to the device features, such as camera, GPS, and notification system to enhance user engagement. This experience is provided by native apps that are designed with the sole purpose of living and working in a specific smartphone environment. Web apps overcome device limitations and are simply mobile-optimized web pages that look and feel like an app. The web app user base is larger than the native app user base according to a study conducted by Google.
However, these web apps come with functionality limitations when compared to native apps and are not as engaging (they would not have access to the device notification system). This is where progressive web apps (PWAs) come in. PWAs combine the best of both worlds by using modern web capabilities to deliver a native app like experience to users on the mobile web.
The critical elements of a PWA include the Web App Manifest JSON file (manifest.json), generating Service Worker (SW), and implementing SW. ‘manifest.json’ tells the browser about your web application and how it should behave when installed on the user’s device. This includes information like icons, splash screen, and orientation. For generating SW, webpacks come to the rescue as they come with multiple plugins. You can check out the configuration of the one we used here. Implementing SW is a very basic piece of code really.
The unique selling point for PWAs is their enhanced performance and interaction capabilities that significantly improve conversions. PWA helped a major online retail service improve conversions for new users across all browsers by 104% and on iOS by 82%. PWA for an online ticketing service in India drives an 80% increase in conversions. Inspired by such statistics, we tried out PWA for Geomarketeer and came across astonishing results. The following images show performance metrics for Geomarketeer pre and post PWA implementation.
While we drilled down to statistics to see concrete changes, it was when we actually used the product that we felt a substantial difference. Although traditional web apps are functional today, the future lies in seamless user experience across different devices and web browsers. After successful results for Geomarketeer, we look forward to implementing PWA capabilities in our products and services to push geospatial to the forefront of technology.
Vinayak Kulkarni | Frontend Developer, GeoSpoc