Web app

Web apps

Whether it be an LMS powered e-learning module, a headless e-commerce site or a mobile streaming app, web applications offer the ultimate in flexibility, scale and performance.

A web app is an application served via a browser, just like a traditional website. However, It can also be made into a ‘progressive’ web app (PWA) that is installable and packaged with access to device features previously only possible through native iOS and Android apps.

By building a stand-alone web application, you get to choose from best-of-breed services to power it. It also means you can build multiple products across channels, including websites, mobile and device-specific apps from a single codebase, making your build and implementation lean and shaped to fit your user's context. In the case of a PWA, this can include taking advantage of native features such as push notifications, GPS, cameras and offline mode.


Traditional website

Standard web app

Progressive web app

Native app

Fully responsive


Cross compatible


Stand-alone (non-website) app


Preloading content


Dynamic & highly interactive content


Installable from device browser




Available in an app store




Instant updates & universal sync


Available offline



Access to device features



Some real-life examples of companies doing this include BMW, Starbucks and Tinder who have superseded both their website and native app with a PWA, while Spotify, Uber and Google Maps have supplemented their native apps with web app versions. 

But why? In the average month, most users download zero apps from their app store. This friction, which we'll call here 'the app value gap' is leading to the abandonment of new products. Web apps avoid app stores altogether and by doing so Mishipay has increased transactions tenfold while drastically reducing in-store queuing times.

Here are some of the leading reasons why you might consider a web app:

  • Network speeds (where network connection is poor)
  • Device limitations (where devices are older or lack storage space)
  • Mobile page speed (where performance has impacted mobile engagement)
  • Findability (where SEO makes it easier to find web apps than native)
  • Convenience (where it is slow and undesirable to install from an app store)
  • Reduced technical debt (where savings are made on managing multiple technologies and environments).

Here at Luminary, we've been building applications since the early 2000s. From our custom SaaS CMS, Command Centre and a bespoke ASP web app library, called RADKit (Rapid Application Development kit), to 2015 when we built the AusAppPathways iOS app on Titanium. And, In 2020 we launched Clipspec, a React web application for Schneider Electric, a product we’re actively growing today. As a digital product studio, we continue our web-technology-first mission supporting the evolution of digital with web apps. 

How we create the best experiences

Below is a summary of the technology and expertise we use to build web apps.

Product management

The product manager is the CEO of the product. They understand the market forces, opportunities and risks, and have a consolidated focus on the customer and how the product impacts them. Success is measured by KPIs grounded in customer experience and business goals. 

Product as a service 

To support its growth, the services that support and feed a product also need to be considered. Our product teams also specialise in service design, digital ops, cloud infrastructure and optimisation.

JavaScript, Node.js and React development

Our Javascript engineering capabilities include React and NodeJS, our chosen, industry-leading library and server-side technology for building web applications. 

Static site generation

We specialise in GatsbyJS and NextJS, industry-leading JS frameworks for rendering web apps for various applications. 

Build, deployment & infrastructure

We leverage Netlify and Vercel for build and deployment environments and specialise in Azure, AWS & Cloudflare for Scale, ID management, security, redundancy and cloud hosting.

Headless

For when web applications need to be served by a headless CMS, we specialise in Kontent.ai, Contentful and Storyblok.

Our web apps expertise

Key people and musings from our blog

Dean Berlingeri

Dean Berlingeri

Senior UX Designer

Dean has deep experience in human-centred design practices, facilitating workshops, and iterative prototyping.

2 min read

Why it’s time for the Jamstack to shine – the technology perspective

Javascript, APIs and Markup (HTML) have been around for literally decades. So why the sudden wave of enthusiasm for Jamstack as an enterprise web development platform?

Andy Thompson
Andy Thompson

08 June 2020

2 minute read

Grace Purton-Long

Grace Purton-Long

Senior Designer

Grace is a talented designer with a particular interest in digital storytelling and immersive design.

3D cartoon image of a rocket launching

7 min read

We rebuilt our website on the Jamstack (without changing CMS)

You may not notice just by looking at it, but a few weeks ago we launched a completely rebuilt front end (or 'head') for our website. The new Jamstack tech is great, but the coolest part of all is that there was zero downtime, no content freeze, and no SEO impact (except positive!), as our existing headless CMS remained unchanged behind the scenes.

Andy Thompson
Andy Thompson

05 July 2022

7 minute read

Matt Stobo

Matthew Stobo

Senior Front End Developer

Matt has worn many hats, from developer to consultant, and is as comfortable in the meeting room as he is behind a code editor.

The JAMstack - Jam on waffles

9 min read

Benefits of the Jamstack – from buzzword to business ready

The Jamstack is a modern approach to building fast, secure, and cost-effective websites and apps. In this article Luminary MD Adam Griffith explains the six 'Ss' of the Jamstack – Speed, Stability, Scalability, Security, Serviceability and Simplicity – to show why this movement is now business ready.

Adam Griffith
Adam Griffith

12 May 2020

9 minute read

Picture of front end developer, Drew

Drew Foster

Technical Director

As Technical Director, Drew's focus is on supporting and mentoring our front end development team.

Photo from orbit of the earth at night light up by lights

7 min read

Where is my data anyway? Data sovereignty challenges in a world of SaaS and Cloud

'Where is my data?' is a tricky question to answer succinctly in a modern world dominated by cloud services, APIs and globally distributed Content Delivery Networks (CDNs). In the good old days when you just stored everything in your monolithic CMS and hosted it yourself, it was easy to answer. Nowadays, we may need to rephrase the question, or ask different questions entirely.

Andy Thompson
Andy Thompson

03 June 2022

7 minute read

What is headless cms

4 min read

Serving content to IoT devices with a headless CMS

Need a way to serve the same content to a growing range of platforms? Headless content management systems are your answer.

Emmanuel Tissera
Emmanuel Tissera

10 October 2019

4 minute read

Andrew Radburnd

Andrew Radburnd

CIO

Andrew is responsible for the strategy, planning, management and implementation of technical infrastructure for Luminary and our clients.

Cancer Council website on mobile

1 min read

A true partnership: Luminary + Cancer Council Australia

When Cancer Council Australia (CCA) decided to rebuild its website, it wanted a tech partner that could mentor and guide it, not just execute and deliver a product. It found that partner in Luminary. Here’s a video and summary of the presentation CCA and Luminary CTO Andy Thompson gave at the 2020 Kontent Horizons conference.

Tami Iseli
Tami Iseli

17 December 2020

1 minute read

Partnerships

Luminary is a trusted partner of many of the industry’s leading technologies within the web app and headless space.

Useful links

Check out the handy resources below for downloadable guides, checklists and templates to help you achieve your digital goals.

An image of a digital device with logos of various apps overlaid

8 min read

How to choose the right CMS

You’ve decided you need a new Content Management System – but where do you start in deciding which one to go with? Here, we distill our learnings over the past two decades of advising clients on choosing digital platforms. We’ve even included a downloadable comparison matrix for you to rank contending CMS or DXP options.

Adam Griffith
Adam Griffith

29 July 2022

8 minute read

Toolbox with a number of digital apps and tools inside

9 min read

Building a martech stack

Selecting a martech stack can be overwhelming. The right mix of products can be the make or break of an organisation’s digital strategy. Here, we share our insights and tips from many years of assisting clients with this daunting task. We also include our downloadable Martech Audit Matrix for you to audit your existing stack.

Adam Griffith
Adam Griffith

29 March 2022

9 minute read

Digital Roadmap

6 min read

How to create a digital strategy roadmap

A good strategic roadmap not only outlines what you want to achieve with your digital strategy, but sets out the detail of how you're going to get there. Here we provide guidance on how to do it, along with a downloadable Digital Roadmap Toolkit.

Liam Thomas
Liam Thomas

01 February 2019

6 minute read

Laptop screen showing Google analytics page with coffee cup in the background

5 min read

How to perform a website audit

Conducting a website audit sounds like a really big, scary, time-consuming chore, but it doesn’t have to be. We’ve simplified the task for you with six key areas to assess – along with a downloadable checklist full of useful questions, tips and tools.

Adam Griffith
Adam Griffith

20 April 2018

5 minute read

Brief Digital Agency

6 min read

How to brief a digital agency

Whether you’re briefing your existing agency or inviting new agencies to respond to a request for proposal, there are certain ‘rules of the game’ that will help you drive the best possible result. This blog post features a downloadable digital agency briefing template to help you get off on the right foot.

Liam Thomas
Liam Thomas

24 February 2017

6 minute read

Image of a statue head with microservices icons coming out of it

Everything you need to know if you're considering migrating your website from a traditional CMS to a headless CMS.

Cartoon-style image of a woman interacting with a product interface

A Guide to Digital Product Design

Everything you need to know if you're considering developing and launching a digital product.

Content Audit

5 min read

Why conducting a content audit is essential

Performing a content audit is a crucial step in optimising a website's performance. It can help identify outdated or irrelevant content, identify content gaps, improve SEO efforts, enhance user experience, and save time and resources.

Victoria Whatmore
Victoria Whatmore

31 July 2023

5 minute read

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