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Tips You Need To Know When Designing Progressive Web Apps

Progressive Web App (PWA) makes use of modern web capabilities to provide an app-like experience to the users. The PWAs have changed the perception of web applications. The user experience is designed to please the users as the apps don’t require users to perform an app store hunt, downloading or installing.

The progressive web app (PWA) has been accepted not just by the developers but has been liked by the web-users as well. The developers can reduce cost and development time by letting go off the necessity for creating different versions of the same app for multiple platforms. The URL itself is enough to access which makes the user much connected with the progressive web apps.

Important tips to keep in mind while designing progressive web apps:

1. Enhance Load Time:

Enhance Load Time

The web application should open instantly like a native app not consuming much load time like websites. A progressive web application (PWA) should take minimum load time so apply the cache-first approach for the app development process instead of the network-first approach. Even if the load time is slightly more, engage the user with some interesting or fun elements on the screen.

2. Improve Load Performance:

To improve the performance of your progressive web application, Google recommends implementing the PRPL pattern. It aims to optimize for simpler development and deployment. PRPL Pattern is used for structuring and serving progressive web pages. This includes Pushing critical resources for the initial URL route, Render initial route, Pre-cache remaining routes, Lazy-load and create remaining routes on demand. It attempts to optimize minimum time to time interactions mainly on the real-world mobile devices.

Improve Load Performance

3. Keep Your Focus on Icons:

A progressive web app needs to be developed to feature icons that are designed according to the guidelines of native apps. The icon design should be kept minimalistic so that it is easy to convert. So while designing progressive web apps, you need to focus more on the icons.

4. Be Alert About Advanced Touch Interactions:

The key to designing a perfect progressive web app is to make sure that the advanced touch interactions work well on real devices. It may not be impossible but it is hard to incorporate advanced touch interactions like “swipe to dismiss” or “pull to refresh” navigation menus. If these interactions do not work properly, then you will be in trouble. In case your PWA needs touch interactions, make sure that they work well on the real-time devices.

5. Usage of System Fonts:

Usage of System Fonts

While designing a progressive web application, it is best to use the system’s preferred font, depending on the OS the user is using. It is more comfortable if the style matches the Operating System it is functioning on. It is much beneficial to use device fonts instead of custom fonts. By implementing different menus and buttons per platform helps in minimizing the visual distraction of a user.

6.  Flawless Screen Transitions:

On slow networks, it’s very common that the network slows down or even block screen transitions. When the user clicks on the link or a button on the web app and if the screen transition is slow, it might create an impression that the app is unresponsive for the user.  This can be resolved by using skeleton screens. If the skeleton screen is implemented properly, the customers don’t even realize that they are looking at one and the experience still feels smooth. The web app needs to be developed in such a way that the design should give the feel of a native app and the features should be loaded dynamically.

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7. Responsive Content is a Must:

Responsive Content is a Must

A PWA must be as responsive as a Native App. As a developer, you must be sure that all image tags on a page should include the dimensions of the image. Placeholders help in minimizing the ‘jumping images effect’ which results from inefficient resizing of images. You can also work out a way to acknowledge the user commands by highlighting the actionable tabs.

8. Use Service Worker:

Service workers are scripts that the browser runs in the background when the page is not open. Make sure that your browser supports service workers and if it supports a service worker you need to register a service worker file. There are integral to your app design if you intend to install prompts, push notification and caching, etc. By using service workers, the Progressive Web Apps can serve the users better even the internet connection is poor.

9. Easy to Share:

Easy to Share

In the case of progressive web apps, the current URL is not easily accessible, hence you must make sure that the users can share what they are looking at, easily. For this purpose, integrate a share button that allows the user to copy the URL to the clipboard and spread across. The social sharing buttons can also be integrated, but make sure that you delay the loading of third-party Javascript till the primary content is loaded on the web page.

10. Ensure that Buttons and Non-Content are Not Selectable:

When using Chrome, even a single tap on the text is often considered as a selection. As a result of this, a bug is created which taps on buttons, and other ‘non-content’ gets recognized as selections. This creates an odd experience for the users. To prevent this from happening, mark all the non-content elements with this CSS property:

user-select: none;

11. Retain Scroll Position:

When the user selects an item from a particular list and proceeds to view its details, tapping back should bring them to the previous list page. Here the main goal is that while user taps, he should be brought back to the previous list page with the same scroll position rather than going to the top of the list again.


A Progressive Web App works efficiently even on the slow networks having a unique convenience that it doesn’t require rewriting your entire application. Nextbrain Studio offers you Progressive Web Applications (PWAs) that elevate the user experience reducing the development cost and time.

Muhammad Asad Raza

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