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|
|Stand-alone (non-website) app||✓||✓||✓|
|Dynamic & highly interactive content||✓||✓||✓|
|Installable from device browser||✓|
|Available in an app store||✓|
|Instant updates & universal sync||✓||✓||✓|
|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Some real-life examples of companies doing this include BMW, Starbucks and Tinder who have superseded both their website and native app with a PWA, while Spotify, Uber and Google Maps have supplemented their native apps with web app versions.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.
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.
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.
For when web applications need to be served by a headless CMS, we specialise in Kontent.ai, Contentful and Storyblok.
And the proof?
A snapshot of our web app projects.
Our web apps expertise
Key people and musings from our blog
Luminary is a trusted partner of many of the industry’s leading technologies within the web app and headless space.
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