FAQ: Making Sense of the New “Progressive” Approach to Web Design

Mobify’s Progressive Mobile strategy is unique to us, but the term “Progressive” is not. Progressive technologies seem to be popping up everywhere, so we’ve created an overview of all the variations and how they fit together.

Progressive Enhancement

Progressive Enhancement is an implementation strategy for the web. It’s the philosophy that each user should be given the best experience based on their specific context. “Context” usually means the user’s mobile device and/or browser capabilities, but could also include elements such as permissions for features like geolocation and notifications.

In other words, a baseline functionality is available for everyone, while progressively enhancing the experience in contexts where more advanced features are supported. Take a deeper dive into Progressive Enhancement here.

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)

“Progressive Web Apps” is a term coined by Google for “app-like” websites that are reliable, fast, and engaging. Unlike native apps, Progressive Web Apps are initially accessed through the web browser instead of being downloaded to a device. They work on all browsers, but the functionality is enhanced on browsers that support more advanced underlying technology.

To be considered a Progressive Web App by Google, these sites must provide a high-quality, app-like user experience by being secure and responsive, working offline, and loading quickly. This is possible by taking advantage of new browser technologies, like:

  • Service Workers, a new browser capability that – along with other advancements like App Shell – enables near-instant content rendering.
  • Browser API that enables Web Push Notifications, a way to engage with web visitors as you would with your app audience.
  • Background Sync, allowing users to continue browsing while temporarily offline.
  • Web App manifests, a way to make Progressive Web Apps discoverable on your device and installable on a mobile home screen, just like an app.

Progressive Mobile

Progressive Mobile is is a technology strategy invented by Mobify, and applies to both web and apps. It combines the philosophy of Progressive Enhancement along with a framework to quickly build PWA-compliant web experiences for retailers and their customers.

Progressive Mobile goes beyond Google’s requirements for PWAs, incorporating open-source and proprietary technology that enables a number of benefits specifically for retailers, such as:

  • Reduced risk compared to building in-house or with inexperienced vendors. Mobify is a strategic partner to retailers, scaling our platform to power large numbers of transactions with proven uptime and performance results.
  • Fast implementation time. A shared and reusable codebase enables quick deployments across web and native apps for iOS and Android.
  • Simplified maintenance, with cloud delivery and development frameworks based on open source technologies like React, all easily managed in the Mobify Developer Center.
  • Ecommerce features beyond what’s included in PWA, covering core functionality like checkout, along with advanced capabilities like Web Payments and Store Locators.
  • Improved customer engagement with features such as enhanced Push Notifications, which, when powered by Mobify, can be personalized to specific audiences, triggered to send automatically, and come with marketer-friendly analytics.

We hope this helps clear up any confusion about “Progressive.” Be sure to get in touch if you have any more questions!