Conversions: PWAs, Payment Experiences and More

by Luke Wroblewski November 6, 2018

In her PWAs, Payment Experiences and More presentation at Google Conversions 2018 in Dublin Ireland, Jenny Gove talked through the new capabilities available on the Web to build fast and engaging products. Here's my notes from her talk:

  • The Web was built for desktop devices, not mobile. Native apps, in contrast, were built from the ground up for mobile. So it's no surprise that Web sites are still catching up in terms of experience. While there are great mobile Web experiences, most have a lot of work to do.
  • To help incentivize people to improve mobile Web experiences, Google added the "mobile-friendly" label to search results. When 85% of results in mobile search met this criteria, the label was removed.
  • Progressive Web apps bring richer experiences to the Web through a set of technologies that enable fast, installable, reliable, and engaging. They're the next step in making great Web experiences.
  • Speed is critical for mobile Web sites but it takes a mobile Web page a median time of 9.3 seconds to load on 3G. Pinterest reduced their time for interactive from 23 seconds to 5.6 seconds with their PWA. This resulted in a 60% increase in engagement and a 2-3% improvement over their native app.
  • You can improve speed with technical changes and design (to manage perception). Lighthouse is a tool from Google that shows time to meaningful paint and other relevant metrics for improving technical performance. You can manage user perception of speed using skeletong screens and gradual loading of content.
  • PWAs allow you to add mobile Web pages to your phone's home screens. On Android these apps show up in app switchers and setting screens.
  • Service workers in PWAs enable reliable experiences when there is no network or slow and intermittent network connections. Even in developed markets, slow network conditions often exist. Service workers are now available in all major Web browsers.
  • PWAs make use of Web technologies at the right time and place like app permissions, push notifications, payment request APIs, and better form interactions (autocomplete, input types, etc.)
  • 42% of top sites in Europe don't show the appropriate keyboard for specific input types. 27% of the top site in Europe didn't identify which form fields are optional.
  • Google Search uses a PWA to enable offline queries and send results when people are back online using notifications. With a PWA they were able to use 50% fewer external JavaScript requests.
  • In the Starbucks PWA, daily & monthly active users have nearly doubled (compared ot the previous Web experience) and orders placed in the PWA are growing by more than 12% week over week.
  • While mobile has really driven PWA requirements, desktop devices also benefit from PWA app switching and integration. Service workers, push notifications, and other new Web technologies work on desktop as well.
  • It's possible to run PWAs on the desktop in app windows which can be themed. These apps need to use responsive design to adapt from small sized windows to full-sized screens.
  • What's next for PWAs? Support for Windows, macOS and Linux, Keyboard Shortcuts, Badging the launch icon, and Link capturing.