PWA and Mobile First

23.01.2020 Angelika Siczek
a podium with mobile device on the first place, tablet on the second, and desktop on the third

PWA is an ideal solution for companies thinking about the future. Mobile-friendly no longer means expressing good will and manifesting modernity, but it is a Google-enforced obligation. This was indicated quite clearly by updating the algorithm for users of mobile devices. Still, 5 billion mobile phone users are not a number that salespeople can simply ignore.


PWA and mobile first


What is the mobile first approach?

According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index, network traffic from mobile devices will increase by 46 percent in 2017-2020. According to these data, it is not surprising that the mobile first approach is so important. Although Eric Schmidt put forward the principle of mobile first in 2010, many website owners focus on creating websites with the thought of working on a desktop computer, and then force mobile users to open them in their mobile browsers.


According to eMarketer, adult Americans spend more time on mobile phones and tablets than watching traditional television. Their forecast is that adult users of mobile devices will spend an average of 3 hours 43 minutes a day on them, not including conversations, but only 35 minutes watching TV.


The RWD (Responsive Web Design) approach requires a CSS-based technique to match the page to each device. According to mobile first, the reverse order is required. Each page should be designed for mobile devices and later adapted for stationary devices. According to the Wolfgang Digital’s KPI report for 2019, 53% of network traffic comes from mobile users. However, this does not translate into money spent on shopping on the Internet, mainly due to the weak UX mobile versions.


Statists report that almost 66% of users shop online on their phones or tablets, but 75% of their income comes from landline devices. This means that buyers browse products on the phone, but they switch to computers to complete the transaction.


Who and where dominates in mobile technology?

Market giants dictating rules on the development market (Microsoft, Apple and Google) do not intend to ignore this fact. Their position was built by the ability to win users’ sympathy. Progressive Web Apps is a technology supported by all of the above. This means that it will be developed quickly, but above all compatible with every platform.


Google’s interest lies in maintaining its leadership position. They are certainly the first in the search engine category, but in the mobile world they already have more competition. This is a challenge for them, because bypassing their browsers and heading straight to the largest e-commerce portals is already common practice. Amazon is in third place in terms of digital marketing, just behind Facebook and Google. The introduction of the PWA standard is an attempt to defend a position built over the years.


The largest number of mobile users is in Asia – 60%. Later in Africa – 54%. Europe already has fewer of them, at 38%. Google and Facebook dominate the United States and Western Europe, so the Asian market is their natural next step. According to forecasts, network traffic in Africa will double from 2015 to 2022. We are talking only about mobile devices, because Africans use them for what Europeans would usually do at the computer. Mobile technology has dominated weak land infrastructure in most of the continent. The same trend can be observed in Southeast Asia, where e-commerce website traffic increased from 19% to 72%.


Social media on mobile devices

Everyone knows the scandals about the leakage of personal data from companies related to social media. Despite this, the companies involved in the scandal are doing great in terms of image. The biggest scandal in the history of Facebook, i.e. Cambridge Analytica, did not stop its development. At the end of 2018, user activity increased by 9%.


Facebook does not disclose how many users use their platform using mobile devices, but the profit achieved in the first quarter of 2019 in 93% comes from mobile phones and tablets. According to the Digital 2019 report by Hootsuite and We Are Social, in 2018 there were 100 million new mobile users. This means 67% of users globally. Therefore, 3.2 billion people use social media. An example should be taken from these types of pages. Mobile social media applications are 40% more engaging than other applications.


The most important elements of the mobile first approach

Tactics mobile first gives new opportunities in business development, but also raises several challenges. First of all, it is required from website owners and developers to abandon old desktop habits and focus on the requirements of mobile users. The key to success will be not refusing the user with logs walls, access settings and overloaded interfaces. The most important thing is to have a good User Experience.



Interaction design is crucial for UX (User Experience). The determinant of Interaction Design Foundation for good UX is to create a product in which the user will achieve his goal in the simplest possible way. This means taking care of designing every element that the user comes into contact with. Each click, drag, move and other actions cannot be accidentally in the application.



Engagement is a hot topic not only in the mobile world, but in all channels. However, the most difficult challenge is to keep the customer for longer on a mobile device. According to Localytics, 25% of users run applications only once. Therefore, it must be well designed from the very beginning. First of all, do not accuse the new user with large amounts of messages and startup notifications.



The simpler the better – this is what characterizes mobility. Due to the lack of precision on the touch screen, compared to a computer mouse, applications cannot contain as much information and general content as a web page. The more that the mobile user is an impatient user. You can’t impose complicated navigation and a large amount of shares to buy one product.



Mobile applications have instant access to confidential data, such as credit cards, passwords, addresses, contacts, messages and photos. This makes them a particularly tasty morsel for cybercriminals. A high level of security is therefore a priority.



Indexing in the mobile first approach

Google has advanced data on user behavior and knows almost everything about it. Among other things, it presents the facts that in 2015 the number of searches on mobile devices exceeded the number of stationary searches for the first time. It was a breakthrough and in a sense the beginning of a new technological era.


However, Google was prepared for this. In February 2015, a plan to publish new search algorithms was announced, which differently evaluated and presented searches friendly to mobile devices compared to unfriendly ones. The message was simple – either website owners will comply or their search position will drop. Some people called this event “mobilgeddon” because of the amount of noise it caused in the press. However, its authentic impact on technological reality was not so drastic.


It was just the beginning of the mobile first approach and was designed to convince website owners to take the mobile channel seriously. A blog post was published on Google’s Webmaster Central blog explaining in more detail what the change was. According to Google, these were just trying on. The algorithm was to go sooner or later to favor pages with mobile versions and display content clippings on the main page with results. They also noted that despite leaning towards mobile users, web pages for desktop browsers will still be indexed. Logged in users with installed applications were to be one of the factors affecting indexing.


This means that mobile content will always be put first in the results rankings and, as a result, get more entries. This factor is in favor of PWA. His domain is the mobile first approach. Speed ​​of action is also a huge positive factor influencing the ranking. Progressive Web Apps, in light of these changes, quickly got support from Microsoft and Apple and became the main solution for operating systems with a weak mobile side.


Gap in mobility

The increase in the use of mobile devices to traverse the network is enormous, but it is not directly proportional to the mobile increase in sales in e-commerce. This is what is called “the mobile gap”. The gap in the conversion rate for mobile and stationary devices is 49%. Its reduction is a big challenge for sellers and developers.


Adding mobile solutions is a priority for sellers. It increases customer engagement and loyalty. It provides invaluable information about the client and his preferences and provides closer contact. Applications always have the potential for a greater degree of personalization. Despite this, customers still hesitate before making purchases on the phone or tablet.


In an era of multi-channeling, every interaction is equally important, but every second of delay during shopping is a greater risk of losing a customer or reducing the conversion rate. Progressive Web Apps is an ultra-fast, engaging, but above all indexed solution for Apple, Microsoft and Google browsers. They enable connection even in difficult network conditions and without using the application store.


Which companies already use PWA?

The trend demonstrated by Divante and their report on the state of the mobile first sales market indicates that mainly large companies are transitioning to PWA and making full use of their capabilities, while smaller ones are skeptical.


Tinder, thanks to PWA, reduced the average charging time from 12 seconds to 4.6. It also reduced the size by 90% compared to the native Android application. Trivago, after the introduction of PWA, noticed a 150% increase in the number of users who installed the icon on the main screen. In addition, a 97% increase in clicks on offers and a 67% increase in the number of users using the offline function. Pinterest increased site profits by 44% and increased user engagement by 40%. Forbes loads in 0.8 seconds instead of 3 seconds and it has doubled the time users spend on the site. Alibaba increased the conversion rate by 76% and AliExpress by 104%.



These are just a few examples of the benefits of introducing PWA. It is gaining more and more followers and certainly small businesses will also be convinced by it. Owners of e-commerce stores have ready implementation solutions thanks to Magento PWA Studio and Vue Storefront. They give a sense of comfort during the transition to PWA, but above all, a guarantee of success.

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