Should your website be a Progressive Web App?
Is your website, actually, a tool or a service which can provide value by performing tasks even when used offline? If not, then don’t waste time on progressive web apps. If you just want offline caching, stick with a simple Service Worker.
Users don’t need a desktop shortcut to your website, they can bookmark it without any extra work from your side. If we learned anything from the mobile app boom, it’s that app fatigue is real and not every eShop or local business needs a dedicated mobile application. It’s a nice way to keep devs and box tickers employed, but it’s mostly busy work without any added end-user value. Can your website be more useful when installed?
Don’t add to the Web vs App confusion
When users open a native app on their phone or desktop, they have different expectations towards how to interact with the UI than when navigating the web. Nowadays, the line has been blurred with the advent of Single Page Applications (SPAs) which capitalize on increased browser performance to provide rich user experiences. By blurred line, I mean capabilities of native vs web, and not the user expectations towards interaction patterns. SPAs left web users forever confused if their click will navigate to a new website, perform an action or select text. If used correctly, progressive web apps (PWAs) can undo the UX damage of SPAs and provide familiar desktop experience, implemented with web technologies underneath. If used irresponsibly, PWAs can leave users similarly confused why an app launched from a desktop shortcut has hyperlinks and only half of them work offline.
You still want to build a PWA
If nothing above convinced you that you don’t need a PWA, then, at least, consider leaving your website as-is. Think of common problems your website users are facing in their daily lives or jobs. Then take a look at a rich set of native web APIs and how you could use it to solve user problems. This should help to create basis for a new progressive web app which will add value for the end user and generate traffic to your website. I think this is a lot more rewarding work than just ticking the PWA box on some web consultant’s report pitched to the upper management.
Avoid the hype train
Don’t jump technical stacks, redesign UI based on a new design language from Big Corp or rewrite everything with a new framework, just because other companies with a lot of funding and many idle hands are doing it. Evaluate how the new technology can bring value to your customers and perform spikes to discover technical unknowns.
P.S. mobilerank.co website is a PWA and I totally agree that it adds no value. Doing something because you can or want to learn is also a valid reason :)