Single Page Applications (SPAs). Benefits and Pitfalls
When it comes down to choosing an application for your business, you evaluate each option and then select the one suiting best. To make the informed decision, there is also a necessity to have a clear insight into your business — its aspects and goals. After thorough analysis, it’s time to decide in favor of one of only two options: whether to adopt a single page application (SPA) or a multi-page application. Currently more and more business owners are inclined to select SPAs due to their modern nature and user-friendliness. In the following chapters we make an overview of a single page application, its main benefits and pitfalls.
Essence of a Single Page Application (SPA)
Single page applications or SPAs can be determined as web applications or websites that consist only of one single HTML page. They connect to the server only once, then download and renew data dynamically. This peculiarity allows users not to refresh the page over and over again to see the updated content. There are dozens of examples of single page applications that we use regularly. Services like Gmail, Netflix, Google Docs, Airbnb are all SPAs and utilized by millions of users daily across the world.
Statistics shows that website loading time is directly proportional to the bounce rate, when a user closes the page before the content is shown. For instance, if waiting time grows from 1 second to 5, the bounce rate increases by 90%.
A single page application can be a reasonable solution for MVP development. It allows the creation of an easy-to-navigate and responsive interface, which can be downloaded in a blink of an eye. Moreover, this solution does not require significant investments and a huge period of time for its development.
Benefits Inherent to a Single Page App
- Speed and Responsiveness
If it takes an eternity to download a webpage, a user will not wait as appreciates the time. If loading time exceeds several seconds, most likely a potential customer will leave your app and use one from your competitors. That is why, to increase the revenue and save customer’s precious time and nerves, business owners look for the solution. Therefore this criterion may be decisive for world-known companies to adopt a single page application. The greatest advantage of SPA is its loading speed and how it responds to the user’s requests. Such an app does not require page refreshment during its use, the content is updated quite quickly. All that is needed — to establish connection with the server in the very beginning of app usage. After that, a user will download the separate elements on an as-needed basis.
- Possibility to Reuse the Code
If with time you will have an idea to transform your single page application into a comprehensive mobile app, you will not need to write the code for it from scratch, as 20%-30% can be reused. This will allow you to save time for development of the full-featured application, and therefore, expenses, since you already have the system backbone.
- Caching Performance
Single page application asks the data from the server only once, during the first download. It may take a little longer than downloading a typical app, but after it is reached, the functioning will be fast and flawless. Another advantage is that you do not need the Internet connection for its further operation, it can operate in offline mode after the server responds.
- Cross-platform Support
Different users have different preferences. Some use laptops, some run the apps on their smartphones, some can not use anything but tablets. This fact should also be taken into account by business owners when creating their own application. Deciding in favor of SPA will help to adapt to various users’ preferences and broaden the audience
Pitfalls Inherent to a Single Page App
- SEO Issues
Creating a website is only half the battle. It is necessary to acquire new customers that should have a chance to find it somehow. This is possible through appropriate SEO settings. The optimization of a single page application differs from optimization of a typical app. In the case of the SPA, SEO requires a server rendering solution. This is needed because the content is downloaded with AJAX technology, which implies its dynamical change, while sustainability is essential for optimization.
- Initial Downloading Speed
Single page application itself can function fast and seamlessly, but only after the initial connection with the server. This action requires some time, and there appears the risk that a user will leave the webpage prematurely, before the content is displayed. That is why it’s essential to entrust single page application development to a reliable partner. If SPA architecture is elaborated properly, users will not face the speed issue. They will initially download only the necessary part of an app, and then upload the separate components of the application.
- “Back” Button
Normally, when you use a single page application and push the “back” button, you will be redirected to the earlier opened webpage instead of redirecting to the previous step of app use. This issue influences the user experience, and decreases customer satisfaction.
As it can be understood from the name, an application possesses only one single page, and therefore the URL address. That is why you will not be able to share a link containing the concrete information displayed on the screen. This problem causes certain inconveniences and users may hesitate to utilize a single page app.
- Website Statistics
When you make a bet on the SPA solution, you should keep in mind how it would affect the statistics of your website. As long as a single page application consists of only one page, you will not have a chance to understand which content is a matter of interest among your users. Google Analytics, for example, records data from all downloaded pages, for this reason, you have no choice other than create your own analytics solution to keep an eye on your website stats.
Read Also Progressive Web App (PWA)
Single page application is now one of the hottest trends. Despite the range of drawbacks, it possesses significant advantages that make business owners look towards this kind of solution. But whether you choose to adopt such an option or decide in favor of a multi-page app — it is necessary to conduct thorough research and evaluate your business aspects. If you have a clear understanding that SPA is exactly what you need and look for a reliable partner to cooperate with, please contact us, our experienced team will help you with pleasure.