Whether you’re at a startup or a design agency, creating native mobile apps that are user-friendly, intuitive and adaptable can be difficult.
In this post, we’ll explain why progressive web apps (PWAs) are the future of the mobile web and how you can use them to take your offerings to the next level. We’ll also go over a step-by-step guide to show you how you can create your own PWA using Duda, a design and development platform made for agencies.
Why PWAs Could Be a Game Changer for Your Design Agency
As a format, the progressive web app bridges the gap between mobile websites and mobile apps. It helps you deliver an enhanced mobile experience while equipping it with all the features you’d get with a native app.
With PWAs, you can expect to get a reliable, app-like user-interface and navigation, with fast page loading speeds. Here are some of the main reasons why PWAs are the future of smartphone-delivered content experiences:
- They offer a faster browsing experience. PWAs are fast and offer smooth scrolling and page transitions, which means that users don’t have to reload or refresh the page.
- They support push notifications. PWAs support push notifications via the browser, which allows marketers to send personalized messages to their audience’s pockets.
- They encourage rapid re-engagement. By saving the PWA to the home screen, users will be able to access your site without having to enter the URL and without having to install anything from the app stores.
- They provide access to offline content. Thanks to “service worker” code snippets, PWAs can be used offline, which means that users can continue browsing even when they don’t have access to the internet.
Let’s take a look at some of the main reasons why PWAs are game changers for design agencies:
- As a design agency, early adoption of PWA technology and publishing capabilities allows you to differentiate your offering and create value for clients.
- PWAs are instantly discoverable and can even work directly from the browser. It’s a great way to offer clients an app-like experience without going through heavy app development cycles.
- Compared to native apps, PWAs use much less internet data. This is especially helpful for users in developing countries and those who are always on the go.
- PWAs load faster than native apps and are optimized for search engines, enabling you to boost your clients’ results in Google.
Now that we have a better understanding of what PWAs are and why agencies have such significant business opportunities by getting involved, let’s step through a quick tutorial on how you can easily create them using Duda.
How to Create a Progressive Web App
Duda is a website builder that enables agencies to create all sorts of websites and PWAs, at scale, using a drag-and-drop editor.
Here, we’ll show you how you can create your own PWA in four easy steps.
Step #1: Choose a Mobile-Friendly Theme
The first step in building a PWA is to choose a pre-built mobile-friendly theme. Duda offers ten different template categories to make your selection, including targeted niches like Academic, Corporate Event, Eyewear Store, Webinar Landing Page, and Personal Coach.
(You can also start with a blank template and design it from scratch. Either way, once you’ve got your template built to your liking, you can also easily save it to a library of templates that you share within your agency, so that your entire team can build upon your work for subsequent projects.)
Duda lets you preview the template before selecting it to give you an idea of what it will look like on different devices. Template previews are available for laptops, tablets and smartphones.
In addition to shared My Templates resources, you can create and assign shared Sections, which are groups of elements, or even full web pages, that often get repurposed across projects.
Finally, the Template Reset feature allows you to offer instant website redesigns to clients, which allows you to retain them for longer-term engagements beyond the initial launch.
Step #2: Collaborate on Design and Content
With Duda, you’re able to easily communicate with your clients and collaborate with your team members. Its Site Comments feature allows your customers to add feedback directly to the site’s preview interface as you’re building it.
Each element of the website can get a comment box attached to it, which allows clients to provide real-time feedback. This allows them to post comments on different sections of the site – even while it’s under construction.
This way, you’ll be able to avoid endless back and forth with clients. It’s also a great way to engage clients in the site design process while enabling them to keep track of their site’s progress in real-time. You’ll also be able to easily search for specific comment threads and quickly get up to speed.
Duda’s built-in collaboration features also enable your team members to work more efficiently and collaborate between different departments (e.g. design, marketing, content and development departments can work together). They can easily share widgets, assign team roles, manage sections and obtain client permissions.
When it comes to asking clients for site content, you have two options: you can either get your client to send you the content using a handy form that connects to your Duda libraries, or do it yourself using Duda’s Content Import Tool. It allows you to import client content by scraping their images or text from legacy web presences and social profiles, bringing it directly into Duda.
Step #3: Publish Your Website
With Duda, you can take any client website live, within just a few clicks from the consolidated dashboard.
Once you’ve got client signoff on the site design and content, simply click the Publish button in the editor.
After your site is published, you’ll be asked to select a domain option.
The default is a site subdomain within Duda’s domain (for example, yourclient.duda.co), but this might not be the best option in terms of branding or SEO.
You can also choose to buy a domain name from a domain name registrar – such as Google Domains or Hover – from within Duda. If you type the domain name of your choice into the text field, a dropdown menu will appear offering suggestions. These domains have been already been set up to work with Duda.
If you use a subdomain or purchase a domain from within the Duda editor, then you’re all set at this point. However, the most likely scenario is that you started working on the client’s project only after a domain has been purchased via a third-party registrar service. To set that up, simply configure your DNS settings via your domain registrar.
Step #4: Enable the PWA Version
Here’s what you need to do to transform your website into a PWA. Simply click on the site’s Settings tab, click Progressive Web App (PWA), and toggle it on.
Once you’ve activated PWA for the site, you can configure the following settings:
- This is the name that’ll be shown on the splash screen and the Add to home screen message.
- Short name. This name will be used in spots where there isn’t enough space to show the full name, like on the mobile homescreen. It’s a good idea to keep this as short as possible.
- This icon is displayed on the user’s homescreen as the shortcut for launch.
- Splash screen background color. This is the color that will be displayed when the PWA is loading.
Duda offers a number of useful features for design agencies to create PWAs that are instantly discoverable, optimized for search engines and consume less data compared to native apps.
It gives you the tools you need to differentiate your agency, to turn around projects efficiently, to actually design the app, to collaborate effectively with your team members, and to collect assets and feedback from your clients. By following the step-by-step guide given in this article, you’ll be well on your way to creating robust and fully-responsive PWAs at scale.
What are some of the features you look for in a website builder? Let us know by commenting below!