PWA vs. AMP- Which is better and what to choose

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PWA Vs AMP- What To Choose?

October 21, 2020 by Syed Zainul Haque under Digital Emerging technologies General717 views
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“Design your website for your mobile device first then go the way up” – Exactly! You heard it correct. Why? Developers often face challenges when designing for smaller devices so when you start for the small device and then go up,  you are actually designing the heart of the UX first, and that is called product enhancement. 

Why Mobile-First approach? 

Mobile-first means your design is precise, your content is not puffed up. The limitations and smaller screen breakpoints better fit around the content. Then why not Mobile-first approach? Today’s environment makes us more reliant on smartphones. Faster and convenient interactions give it an edge over any devices. Moreover, we prefer everything on the go! 

Why not gradual degradation? 

Well, in this case, you have to cut down the experience because the core and the supplementary parts of the all-inclusive design become hard to distinguish and separate.

Mobile apps are more user-specific and cater to the smarter needs than web apps since they are advanced in terms of features and functionalities now, building web apps is easier but they are simpler in terms of features. Thus, we need the best of two which led us to progressive web apps (PWA).

Progressive web app falls in between standard web app and mobile app and as Alex Russell says PWAs are “responsive, connectivity-independent, app-like, fresh, safe, discoverable, re-engageable, installable, linkable web experiences. PWA is able to work offline and load extremely quickly. Moreover, it doesn’t require downloading or installation. 

PWA & AMP cs.”

The progressive web application is an advanced web page able to work offline, includes features of push-button and has device hardware access. It also has native app-like capabilities such as local storage, notifications, background synchronisation.

Accelerate Mobile page is an open-source HTML framework that creates a web page faster, enables it with a smooth-landing page and prioritizes the user-experience. It has optimised AMP components and CSS. 

What to choose? Let’s dive into their pros and cons

1.1 Progressive Web APP

In the following tabular format let’s look into what PWA is offering to us and not:

Pros of PWA

  • Progressive: Able to work on any browser due to its progressive improvement principles.
  • Responsive: Adaptable to various screen sizes or dimensions of any device.
  • App-like: Users experience alike feelings of using native apps in terms of interaction and navigation.
  • Updated: Information is always up-to-date thanks to the data update process offered by service workers.
  • Secure: Exposed over HTTPS protocol to prevent the connection from displaying information or altering the contents.
  • Searchable: They are identified as “applications” and are indexed by search engines.
  • Reactivable: Web notification capability makes the application easier to reactivate
  • Installable: Complexities arising for using the app store can be avoided by saving the useful app through an icon present on the home screen.
  • Linkable: Easily shared via URL without complex installations
  • Offline: Keeps the user first approach by avoiding the usual error message in case of a weak signal. Based on two particularities: ‘skeleton’ of the app, which recalls the page structure and elements including header and page layout. And shows illustration that signals that the page is loading.

 Cons of PWA

  • Latest Version  iOS: iOS support from version 11.3 onwards;
  • Battery Consumption: Reduces the battery life
  • Multi-Device Support: Not all devices support the full range of PWA features (same speech for iOS and Android operating systems);
  • Re-engagement for iOS: It is not possible to establish a strong re-engagement for iOS users (URL scheme, standard web notifications)
  • Offline Execution: Support for offline execution is however limited
  • Presence: Lack of presence on the stores (there is no possibility to acquire traffic from that channel);
  • Body of Control: There is no “body” of control (like the stores) and an approval process;
  • Accessibility: Limited access to some hardware components of the devices;
  • Flexibility: Little flexibility regarding “special” content for users (eg loyalty programs, loyalty, etc.)

1.2 Accelerated Mobile Page 

Do they provide more features?

Pros of AMP

  • Increased speed: The increased loading speed of AMP content makes the content engaging and engagement rate increase due to its quick and hassle-free process. Shorter load times also mean that visitors are less likely to lose patience hence decreasing the bounce rate.
  • Increased visibility: Right now AMPs cannot automatically increase domain authority of the page but it is eligible to be displayed in Google’s “Top Stories” carousel, which sits at or near the top of search results pages, depending on what you search.
  • Increased visitor engagement: visitors are more likely to engage with the content on AMPs compared to traditional mobile pages due to its minimalist design as AMPs makes it easier for visitors to navigate through the content on your page

Cons Of AMP

  • AMPs may not increase site traffic: Because AMP content has a Google URL and resides in Google’s servers, AMPs won’t directly increase traffic to your website but Google has a solution to it.

For example, AMP publishers can add a comment button which will redirect the visitors to an equivalent page where they can add comments.

  • Coordination problem: While the AMPs themselves may load quickly, any external content on the page is likely to lag behind. This is a big problem when it comes to hosting advertisements. Visitors are likely to scroll past an ad before it has loaded, killing any chance at conversion.
  • Analytics leaves much to be desired: Quality analytics of AMP is not par to google standard. Data based on the basic metrics are not available much therefore visitors’ experience cannot be enhanced. 

Trends around PWA and AMP

Trends around PWA and AMP will enable developers to learn about the newest features and help them incorporate. Both are different mobile technologies, PWA is used to provide a feel of native apps whereas AMP helps in loading web pages faster. Today mobile devices have become important and businesses have started taking it seriously. Choosing either of them or both depends upon the knowledge of trends around them. In the following section, we will note the unique features that PWA and AMP is providing to enhance user experience.

PWA AMP
Conversational interactions: Latest HTML5 Framework enables users to use a mobile microphone and makes the conversational interaction interesting. Use the app without touching it! This next-gen feature provides a handy safety feature, useful for driving. Soon it is going to be the core feature of every app. Accelerated mobile pages S.E.O: AMP associated web pages are more SEO friendly and are given high importance in SERP rankings for all devices.  It drives more traffic to the website and also hugely preferred by Google. Rise of AMP relies on growing mobile usage trends. Moreover, Mobile-first Indexing by Google lets users know the friendliness ratings of the website for mobile navigation.

Accessing information offline: Progressive Web Apps have reduced friction by providing offline installation. Service workers embedded into PWAs enabled the entirety of the app to work offline and which is going to be implemented in many more static less updated websites in future.

One of the more common benefits that aren’t frequently discussed is the sheer size of a PWA once downloaded – it’s minuscule in comparison to a native app, in fact, they take up 25 X less space on a device.

AMP for Emails: Google has launched AMP for emails recently making emails much more engaging for users.

Introduction of AMPs, it has now become much easier to interact and carry out different functions on the email rather than having one CTA.

Users can now get more information, browse more, reply to the comments via emails. etc. With this advancement, the prevalence of AMP has increased even more.

Multi-channel push messages: Up until now, the only way to utilize push notifications was to have a native app, but with a PWA you can make use of push notifications in your marketing activities when trying to reach your audience on mobile. It enables you to truly create cohesive marketing campaigns that reach your customer at multiple stages of their customer journey on whatever platform they might be on.

AD Display: AMP has a clear format for ad placement. AMPs also ensure that ads get loaded quickly.

Advertisements that are placed in the content are the primary source of profit for the content marketers. With the help of AMPs, any extra elements are cleared away thereby making the ads dominant and attracting more clicks.

Touch gestures: The user journey is a delicate thing and thereby making that transition from search to site as seamless as possible.

Touch gestures are becoming a standard for how users should interact with content on the mobile web. It can change the way they experience your content.

Final Take Away

PWA and AMP serve different purposes. One uses to enhance looks of native apps and another makes the loading faster. AMP makes the web pages work faster and uses 10 times fewer data. Again, PWA needs no requirement to type links, browse tabs and pop up screens. One needs to remember that none of these are universal solutions.

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