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Book movie tickets without the app—BookMyShow launches its PWA

Sindhu Kashyap
31st May 2017
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BookMyShow has today announced the launch of its Progressive Web App (PWA). The new design replicates BookMyShow’s app-browsing experience and also reduces 50 percent of the load time, thereby bringing down data consumption.

The team stated that the existing mobile website has now been successfully migrated to the PWA. The new and improved version is lighter, faster, and more user-friendly. This has also made BookMyShow the first online entertainment ticketing brand in India to move to PWA.

Founded in 1999, BookMyShow has gone on to build a monopoly of sorts in the movie and event ticketing business. The app is available on both Android and iOS.

(L-R) Gunj Desai, Anish Tripathi and Ravdeep Chawla

With the new PWA, BookMyShow users can get an immersive app-like experience on their mobile browsers—Chrome, Mozilla, and Firefox. The PWA has been built to work on slow networks.

The team claims that the PWA has already increased conversion rates by more than 80 percent as compared to the older mobile website. Speaking of why they chose to launch it now, Anish Tripathi, VP-Product Design, BookMyShow, told YourStory,

“Most of our products are built on the basis of customer behaviour and insights. And it was these insights that got us to build the PWA. We realised that people were using the app and were happy with it, but their main concerns were data usage and the memory it consumes. And if they uninstalled the app and tried using the mobile browser, it didn’t work the same way. The only solution seemed to be to develop a PWA.”

He says the old responsive website was different from the apps they launched. They had a different design language. Anish explains that the idea was not to give two different mental models to the user but to retain the same features for different user behaviour.

The platform has now moved to a new language stack to accommodate the higher number of web pages on BookMyShow. The code for the new PWA has been completely rewritten using React.

Homepage of the PWA.

With the new design in place, the PWA is clutter-free and has a look and feel similar to the native app.

Data consumption by the new PWA is substantially lower due to effective optimisation; when a user requests for a particular page, only assets required for that page are loaded, thereby saving on data. On 2G networks, the initial load time is just 3.1 seconds and even for personalised movie suggestions, the PWA takes less than two seconds in subsequent loads.

To improve the overall performance and to increase efficiency and responsiveness, the new version consists of smaller PWAs that work together for better results. Offline support has also been extended to movie listings and showtime pages.

“The work started from the feedback loop. Luckily for us the reference to design and interactions were available. This cut down the time for development, and it took us four to five months to complete the process,” adds Anish.

React being a new process, what took the most time was finding the right people to build it. Gunj Desai, Team Lead on PWA, had to repurpose a few people on the team and train people to work on React. The evaluation of the technology happened simultaneously along the process of building the PWA.

“For us, the move to PWA meant moving the backend stack, PHP, which also meant reinventing some parts of the wheel. We had an eight-member team working on the product,” adds Gunj. Currently, the network infrastructure in India is volatile, so it was important to build the product accordingly.

Ravdeep Chawla, Head of Product, says it has been designed for movie ticketing, which accounts for a big chunk of the business, but that they first want to move the other elements of BookMyShow onto the PWA platform.

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