With the rise of progressive web apps and a shift in user behaviour when it comes to downloading mobile apps, we cannot shy away from the fact that the native app is definitely facing a challenge that isn’t going to go away.

While we are seeing a rise in enterprise app needs, when it comes to B2C, in particular Retailers or Attraction based venues, users are less willing to download a mobile application, especially if they are infrequent users of that venue itself. A workaround solution to continue to engage with users is the progressive web app approach that provides in most part the same functionality and user experience as a mobile app download without the need for a user to go to the play store and actually download a mobile application.

On the face of it, this seems like a win-win for both the user and provider, as it’s cheaper for the provider to deploy and easier for the user to access. However what we sometimes forget is that the smartphone you own is actually a powerful piece of toolkit in itself and by their very nature web app’s are essentially sidestepping a lot of the functionalities and features that the smartphone can provide. Through the digital map lens and the visualisation of maps and wayfinding, there is a difference between using a map within a native app SDK vs a mobile web optimised map and one way to look at this is comparing google maps on the browser vs google maps on the app – the app is a slicker, smoother experience. Also access to indoor positioning technologies is also comprised if you don’t use native apps.

In summary, it really depends on your individual use case when it comes to selecting whether you go progressive vs. native. It’s clear to see that progressive web apps may well be the future but user experience needs to remain at the forefront of your decision-making.