At least half the population of smartphone users in the US access the Internet via their mobile devices, according to a mobile users’ survey. The same is true for Indian users too, as many prefer to surf the Internet on phones rather than desktop or laptop.
The data makes the job of startups more challenging as they’re working hard to meet the rising demand for availability of product websites on phones. Amid this, startups have to juggle a lot between mobile apps and mobile websites.
Experts say that in providing offerings exclusive for phones, startups do offer mobile applications of their products, but often miss out on providing mobile websites that are as important as apps.
Discussing the need of mobile websites, Amar Nagaram, Vice President, Engineering, Flipkart, talked at length about the importance of mobile websites for startups.
“High performance, immersive experience, and re-engagement are the three tenets that are highly decisive when we talk of mobile experience,” said Amar.
He explained that high performance has two parts - reliable performance and perceptive performance. The former is related to networks. Startups use mobile sites for discovering user behaviour. They should ensure mobile websites work even under bad networks. Reliable performance under bad networks is critical for mobile sites. The latter is about loading. Loading of the mobile site should be quick on repeat visit. Amid it all, with the number of available browsers, startups must ensure mobile sites work on all of them.
Immersive experience is about users’ attention. The advantage a mobile app has over mobile sites is that it has the full attention of a user, whereas browsers have their own plug-ins. There is a lot of data that bombards the browser which can take away a user’s attention. Here, the challenge becomes more difficult.
Another important point is re-engagement of users. Push notifications can be both good and bad. Though it can be proxy for spams, it is one channel that is actually offering more conversions than any other engagement channel.
Amar then took the talk to a different point and shared Flipkart’s journey to being a progressive web app. Everything on Flipkart is built on offline-first strategy. It has been able to solve many problems and the benefits include instant loading, network resilience, reliable performance, fluid and responsive UI.