Updated: May 21, 2020
Apps that adapt
Progressive web apps (PWAs) are websites that convert into apps with a few clicks. Now they can also offer a different user experience for their website vs. app personas.
Tapps is the first PWA platform to allow an app to change content and function based on easy-to-set contextual filters such as the app’s install state, device type, notification opt-in status, and schedule.
Take for example a digital business card that changes to a product brochure when added to the home screen.
Or think how convenient it would be for an event’s landing page to transform into the event’s mobile app when saved, complete with a swap of the page’s promotional content to the utilitarian content needed at the event.
Such a capability offers a smooth, low-friction path to transition a prospect into an attendee without a disruptive detour to an app store.
No development required
A PWA is a software application that combines the benefits of a website and app. PWAs are popular because of their app-like qualities. They can install on a mobile device, work offline, have full-screen navigation, and launch from an icon.
Tapps is a no-code platform for building and hosting PWAs. Now, with the new audience control feature, it’s just as easy to create multi-function PWAs.
One builds a PWA on the Tapps platform with modular building blocks called “actions.” The appearance of each action is managed according to schedule and according to variables such as whether or not a user installed the app.
The app install instructions in the below action are device-specific, so they are set to display only on Apple devices and to disappear after one adds the app to their home screen.
These tools make it easy to create an app that has one user experience when browsed and a different user experience when installed.
Having the option for different user experiences depending on the context of the user addresses many user-engagement challenges. Let’s explore five scenarios:
1. A promotional landing page for an app
If the marketing goal is to get a user to install an app, then the browsed version of an app (i.e. not installed) can have promotional content, which can be replaced by the app’s premium content when installed.
Thus, the landing page can focus on selling the benefits of installing the app while the installed app can focus on delivering those benefits.
Similarly, push messages are very effective for re-engagement but most users do not opt in. Audience control allows one to reward users who opt into notifications with premium content that is not visible to users who do not opt in. (*Android-only at present)
2. More effective in-app instructions
As in the example above, Apple users can see iOS-specific directions for installing the app (ditto for Android users), and these directions will disappear from the installed app. Different from the transient app-install prompt, these instructions persist until the user adds the app to their home screen.
3. Alternate function for a digital business card
A PWA makes a terrific digital business card because it is so easily shared. Audience control can create a second reason to save the card.
A vCard button can save contact info to a recipient's contacts, but saving the card to the home screen can lead to a product guide, an updated list of new home listings, feeds of social channels, or to the latest video guides and updates to a direct-sales product.
4. Matching the need of the user
Web and app audiences can be different. Website users are often transient, while app users plan to re-engage. Users will add an app to their home screen only if it delivers value, and when they do, one establishes an ongoing communications channel.
Audience control allows one to match the content to the user's expectations. Content scheduling is also critical to delivering the right content at the right time.
5. Effective migration from prospect to customer
By combining targeted directions and promotions in a landing page with an app that incorporates support links, user’s guides, and how-to videos, one can smoothly transition prospects into engaged users.
Test this example PWA: https://tapps.to/contextual-pwa on a mobile device. When it initially loads it is a company business card for Tapps with app-install instructions. Add it to your home screen and it changes into an educational guide about Tapps’ PWAs.
This example is the identical PWA viewed in two different contexts. Notice the differences. The browsed version on the left shows the browsers address bar and navigation bar, while the installed version uses the full screen. It eliminates the browser's address bar and substitutes a platform generated navigation bar, while it has an anchored menu at the bottom of the display. The content is also completely different. Try it now and see for yourself if you have not already.
Responsive “Content” vs. format
The “progressive” in progressive web app refers to the fact that PWAs are continually evolving new capabilities. PWAs already allow a single application to work on mobile or desktop and as a website or app.
Now it's time we stop building applications for different channels and build applications with content that is responsive to how a user chooses to engage. Tapps PWAs make this possible.