The Future Web Is Fast and Native

2019-07-03PWAs4 min read

It's easy to envision an ideal way for people to use your apps; sitting patiently, clicking and waiting for valuable content to come.

Nothing ever goes this way! An average user has more than 5 tabs open at once. And if for any reason, your site takes longer than expected, they'll leave and never return. 53% of users will leave a page if it takes longer than 3s to load. Imagine spending a fortune on marketing and throwing it all away to the dust.

The Internet Has To Be Fast!

This was why native apps won; Speed! Most native apps need to be downloaded once, and would, from time to time, request resources from the network. The web, on the other hand, can hardly work without an internet connection.

But this is changing...

In 2017, it took an average of 22s to load a full webpage on mobile (Link), in 2018, that number dropped by 7s to 15s (Link). As days pass, people are getting addicted to faster websites, raising the bar for what fast is. People expect sites to behave like native apps; load instantly and work offline.

Google's recommended load time and time to interactive (each frame represents one second)
Google's recommended load time and time to interactive (each frame represents one second)

Faster always wins.

According to Google, the probability of bounce rate increases by 32% if the site takes 3s to load (visual content above the fold). It increases to 103% at 6s and 132% at 10s. (Link)

There's no doubt, faster page == better user experience == better conversion.

Enter Konga.

Konga is one of Nigeria's largest online mall. WIth an audience in a developing country, they're constantly faced with challenges of connectivity and high data consumption.

To give more context, this was 2015/2016, 2/3 of internet users in Nigeria were on 2G. While Konga had a mobile app, it would take the average African 5% of his salary to get it from the Play store (Link). Despite their mobile app, 54% of users were still coming from the web.

They set out to give the best mobile experience on the web; instant loading, reduced data consumption, ability to work offline and engaging experience. So they built a PWA.

And the result?

When compared with their native app, their PWA uses 92% less data for initial load and 82% fewer data to complete the first transaction. When compared to their previous mobile website, the new experience uses 63% less data for initial load and 84% fewer data to complete the first transaction.

Now that's some mind-blowing stuff. Here's the exciting part; 3G is now mainstream here in Nigeria and some Next Billion User countries. If they had a resilient experience on 2G, we can bet a better experience as internet connection improves.

4G and 5G.

This is just day one. 5G's already here. When it becomes mainstream, people will expect things to load before they click them.

5G can theoretically hit 10Gbps. To give some perspective, if it takes a person 13minutes to download a 3Gb movie with 50Mbps, it'll take a device connected to 5G just 4secs.

Bye Web. Hello Native.

The web is the most reachable and open source of communication. With a browser, you could experience things without installing apps. If we see something we don't agree with, we just close tabs. People seem to like that about the web.

The web as we know it is a home of spinners and loaders. But this is changing rapidly. APIs and interfaces like Service Workers, WebAPK, Web Bluetooth, HTTP/2, etc. are enabling the web to give native-like experiences.

Embracing offline-first

Offline was an error state and developers never cared about them. If a user is offline, it's their fault, not the developers. This is changing also; with Service Workers, users could have delightful experiences while offline.

This is just the beginning of a fast and native web, and I'm more than excited to see how things change over time.

Thanks for readingšŸ˜Š.