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Bless Darah Gah
Bless Darah Gah

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How will PWAs impact Africa?

I have been interested in the topic of progressive web apps for quite a while now, in fact, ever since I got into the Google Africa's Developers scholarship program in partnership with Andela and Pluralsight.

I was thrilled by this concept from the very word go! At first, I couldn't get my head around it but diving deeper makes me want to say that, there is a lot one can do with this knowledge.

One of the most cherished things most communities in Africa would want to have is access to the internet. Access to the internet provides a whole world of opportunities for persons, businesses and organizations. Clearly, the possibilities themselves are endless. My goal is, therefore, to look at how progressive web apps can contribute to bridging the gap in areas or communities that may not have the luxury of enjoying the benefits of high-speed internet connectivity. To see this, we need to understand the new things PWAs bring to the table and how they can change lives:

  1. PWAs are basically websites but with the added advantage of being able to offer an offline experience or still function in areas of very limited internet connection.
  2. PWAs provide the same look and feel that native apps do offer. Perhaps they may be limited to only a couple of device features as opposed to native apps but that still can be overlooked as the main goal of PWAs is providing the most important information when there isn't good internet access.
  3. PWAs may have an install to home screen concept to make it look like the whole app is being installed, but it really doesn't take up any space as most native apps will. This is a good thing because, users will not have to worry about device space or budgeting for an external SD Card
  4. Closely following from the above, we can implement push notifications with PWAs. This makes them very reliable.
  5. Personally, I think to build a website with a PWA-First Approach (my own name entirely) forces developers to think on what is most important to the users under the worst-case scenario. This is also a good thing because not only will a UX Designer think things through to the end, the developers themselves will think not only in the Mobile-First Approach but as well as in the Offline Case approach, leading to a better experience entirely.

I honestly believe that many developers today can take the advantages that PWAs are presenting to them to build a better and richer product, to reach out to a wider scope of users and most importantly, grow their skill set. Africa needs far more PWAs to help those who do not have the chance to fancifully enjoy the luxury of high-speed internet connection like others around the world. As technology evolves and continues to grow, so will PWAs grow and be even more inclusive with respect to its end users. Cheers!

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