Recently, Forbes.com announced they are relaunching their mobile experience as a progressive web app. They said that this is part of a year-long effort to rebrand their entire mobile experience. They are implementing two key features. First, they are adopting accelerated mobile pages, or AMP. Second, the new mobile experience is a progressive web app.
Arab and progressive whereabouts can work together. If you are familiar with accelerated mobile pages, it is a recommendation the Google search engine folks created about two years ago. It is outside the scope of this article, but we plan on publishing resources very soon.
Early positive signs of progressive web apps
Forbes has been beta testing the new progressive web app experience with a small subset of users. These are really test show two significant key performance indicator improvements. First, power users spend twice as long on the site as before. And casual users are spending about three times as long on the site as they did before.
First, let's get the technology out of the way. We spent months implementing best practices for mobile page performance across both iOS and Android phones. An m.forbes.com web page completely loads in 0.8 seconds, considerably faster than nearly all other sites and lightning fast compared to our current mobile site. In geek speak, our new mobile site is also a Progressive Web App, meaning it meets certain Google specifications and can be installed on Android phones faster than native apps on iPhones. The PWA is also tied to Google AMP pages, but that's inside tech for coders only. Our new mobile site looks and feels app-like (on both iOS and Android phones), with gesture-based navigation and much more. When installed on Android phones, consumers can get push alerts and other app-familiar features.
For a site like Forbes, which use a news site, time on site in time on page are very key performance indicators. These statistics are used to help them sell advertising inventory.The time on site improvements could be associated directly with the progressive web app upgrade, but it may also have to do with improved user experience.
The new Forbes.com uses cards, that resemble snapshot and histogram. This is an example of copying good user experience from other similar platforms. This is a practice that we do encourage, because good experience can be copied and improved upon.
But force was seen more improvements beyond title page.
Drastic Improvements in Page Load Time
Forbes is claiming that there really test show you that the new site loads and an average of .8 seconds. While most engineers might scoff at that number, love to death sees these types of speeds routinely.
Right now, the average webpage takes about 20 seconds to load on a mobile phone. You should always do production performance test on mobile devices to determine what your websites true page load time is.
If your site is public, we highly recommend using webpage test out of work to verify what your average load times are.
We decided to do a single run of the current Forbes.com mobile experience on a nexus five phone using chrome. And we were not surprised to see it take about 20 seconds to load.
Forbes.com home page weight was well over 4 MB. It had hundreds of file requests and many other poor user experience parameters.
Forbes is not alone; most sites suffer from similar performance issues. In the case of Forbes and other news websites, they are plagued with third-party advertising and analytics scripts. These scripts at excess weight.
Besides weight, these scripts cause browsers to delay rendering. And developers and dev ops engineers often do not test the site with these third-party scripts injected. This often leads to a much different user experience for consumers than test engineers.
You should always test your production site is a real user before you claim any performance statistics.
We haven’t been able to test the new Forbes.com site yet, but we will as soon as it rolls out to the broad masses.
A Gradual Rollout
The Forbes engineers stated that while the entire mobile experience has been crafted as a progressive web app using accelerated mobile pages, they are gradually rolling out the deployment to all users. To begin with the only users that will receive the new progressive web app experience will be those who enter via Google’s accelerated mobile page Gateway.
Once that test has concluded they will then roll it out to social media access and then to direct access. The timeline will be roughly 3 to 4 months.We think this is perfectly acceptable, because often it is good to test a small subset of users and work out any kinks before everybody gets a chance to break things.
Were excited to see Forbes embark on this journey into the progressive web app world. They discussed these changes is a companywide endeavor to make a digital transformation.We think that many companies should follow their lead and rethink the way they are presenting their websites and internal applications. Forbes has decided to invest heavily in a great mobile first experience. And while many companies suggest that the have adopted a mobile first approach, statistics and analysis are seen otherwise.
Love2Dev specializes in progressive web apps, and have been creating websites and applications for companies using progressive web app like architecture for about seven years. If you’re interested in upgrading your web experience to progressive about we would love to talk to you.
If your developer and looking to learn how to build great progressive web apps, we are launching a brand-new course on March 17 called how to build websites better than the Facebook app. In this course you will learn the basics as well as detailed information on how to make great progressive web experiences.