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What happens when we take the web browser out of web browsing? Google’s new “Add to Homescreen” feature delivers fast, focused web experiences that are indistinguishable from those of a native app. What can designers learn from the successes of early adopters such as Twitter, and how can we leverage app-like design patterns to tackle this brand new set of user experience challenges?
The “Add to Homescreen” installation process, as shown on Google Chrome Developer’s mobile website (Image source) (Large preview) We’ve seen debates on the topic of native versus web experiences.
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As we look deep into 2017, one of the questions on every web developer’s mind ought to be, “What trend will define the web in 2017?” Just three years ago, we were talking about the “Year of Responsive Web Design”, and we’ve all seen how the stakes were raised when Google announced Mobilegeddon (21 April 2015) and started to boost the rankings of mobile-friendly websites in mobile search results.
Today, as our findings indicate, responsive web design is the norm, with 7 out of 10 mobile-optimized websites being responsive, up from 5 last year, which begs the questions: What’s next? Where is it all heading? We solved the screen-size issue and had a great run for a few years — now what?
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“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy,” said Shakespeare’s Hamlet, in the famous scene in which Hamlet teaches Horatio to be a web designer.
Horatio, as every schoolchild knows, is a designer from Berlin (or sometimes London or Silicon Valley) who has a top-of-the-line MacBook, the latest iPhone and an unlimited data plan over the fastest, most reliable network. But, as Hamlet points out to him, this is not the experience of most of the world’s web visitors.
If you’ve been following the web development community these last few months, chances are you’ve read about progressive web apps (PWAs). It’s an umbrella term used to describe web experiences advanced that they compete with ever-so-rich and immersive native apps: full offline support, installability, “Retina,” full-bleed imagery, sign-in support for personalization, fast, smooth in-app browsing, push notifications and a great UI.
But even though the new Service Worker API allows you to cache away all of your website’s assets for an almost instant subsequent load, like when meeting someone new, the first impression is what counts. If the first load takes more than 3 seconds, the latest DoubleClick study shows that more than 53% of all users will drop off.