Installing a PWA is about to feel more native on Android

Progressive web apps (PWAs) will feel more like traditional apps on Android. The Chrome Developers Twitter account revealed it’s introducing a new installation dialog that provides users with a richer experience.

“Starting today on Android, some users will get a richer PWA installation dialog on Twitter,” the Chrome Developers account said on Twitter.

Going forward, developers can add the “description” and “screenshots” member to their manifest. As you can see in the screenshot shared by Chrome Developers, the installation dialog looks a lot more like installing a native app, with screenshots and a short description.

Twitter is the first to take advantage of the richer PWA installation dialog, but Android users should expect other services to offer improved web app prompts. The feature itself doesn’t change the behavior or performance of PWAs, but making it feel more native might encourage more installations from Android users.

According to Google, developers must follow specific criteria for the richer dialog prompt to properly display. For images, weight and height must be at least 320px and at most 3840px. Screenshots must also have the same aspect ratio, and only JPEG and PNG image formats are supported.

The description and screenshots properties are currently used only in Chrome for Android, and requires an experimental flag be enabled in Chrome 90.

Progressive Web Apps offer a more streamlined alternative to downloading a full app, while still providing users with instant access to the experience. For a service like Twitter, the differences between a native app and a PWA are minimal, as the company keeps its website and mobile apps pretty similar.

The only issue with these prompts is that if a user opts not to install a progressive web app for a site they frequently visit, they may have to constantly deal with the pop-up, which could get annoying fast.