What if we exclude web-browsers from web-browsing? A new function implemented by Google – “Add to home screen” is a useful featured for web-developers. The function helps create web applications that will look like native ones. It helps to create something new, exciting and useful for a user.
The discussion “web/native application” is not something new. Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages. The main disadvantage of web-application is that they are not reliable, fast and visually integrated like native ones.
Progressive web applications (PWA) can be described as websites, which look and work like native applications.
Add to homescreen
This function helps to add a progressive web application on home screen of an Android device. It may start the app without starting a browser and necessity of entering URL or using a searching engine.
A progressive application with the feature included gets more score in Google Lighthouse. Therefore, it ranks higher when a user search for something.
Users do not care if they use a native application, a web application, or a website. They want:
- Fast loading
- Working offline
- Fast navigation
- Perfect device integration
Applications and the function “Add to home screen”
The function “Add to home screen” helps to provide a solution, which works like a website, but looks like a native one. Therefore, a user starts an app by clicking on an icon. There is no necessity in entering any addresses. The function has such features:
Data is cached, so new pages are loaded faster creating a loading absence effect.
The function “Add to home screen” creates a visual bridge between data which is loading and already loaded.
Pages data is cached and a user can open a new page and see its content. This approach is very useful when the speed of internet connection is low or the connection is unstable.
The applications work and look like native ones. The apps work with autorun, app switching, and system preferences. Notifications look like the ones from native applications.
The approach is not very popular in mobile web-solutions. Applications have a common style of navigation, “back” is located in the top left corner, a context menu in the top right corner. At the moment, PWA cannot provide a solution for this problem.
Some time is needed to make the function “Add to home screen” a part of a pattern. To use it to its maximum, it is necessary to adhere to certain recommendations:
- Title bars have a common style, they have such buttons as “back”, “cart”, “search”.
- Notify users that an application uses «Add to home screen».
- Provide clients, who use the function «Add to home screen», with exclusive programs (like a “loyal customer”).
The feature «Add to home screen» is available for iOS, Samsung web-browser and Windows Store.
The technology «Add to home screen» has a great potential. The number of devices, which support the feature, increases. It helps to create high-performance applications with intuitive design, which look like native ones.