How Single Page Applications (SPA’s) Can Enhance User Experience
August 18, 2016
What Are Single Page Applications?
You may have heard someone refer to Single Page Applications recently, it’s kind of a buzz phrase right now. But what is Single Page App, or SPA, and why would you use it? A Single Page Application is a web app that can fit on one HTML page and it provides users with a more fluid and responsive experience. The page updates, but never reloads throughout the whole process, and control never transfers to a separate page.
These web apps load all of the page information at once onto a single HTML page that can dynamically update as the user interacts with the app. Just because it is a web app, doesn’t mean that the scale can’t be enormous; both Gmail and Netflix use a SPA framework.
SPA Example – The Golden Door Program Calendar
Van West Media chose to use a SPA for, naturally, a Spa – Golden Door Resort and Spa to be exact. Golden Door recently received the 2015 “World’s Best Destination Spa” award from Travel + Leisure Magazine and has a comprehensive annual program calendar. The VWM design and development team worked closely with Golden Door to create a beautiful and highly functional SPA that allows users to sort, filter and select from a variety of program types.
There were several important reasons why Van West Media chose to use a SPA when developing the Golden Door Program Calendar. One of the biggest factors was page speed and user experience benefits. To the user, the calendar works and feels more like an application than a web page. As users filter or browse through different months and program types, only data is being transmitted back and forth to the server since all the initial HTML, CSS, Scripts pages only need the initial load. This makes for fast interactions on the page, particularly on mobile, tablet or cellular networks.
Another advantage in developing the page with a SPA framework was the ability to keep the data and the user interface separate. This allowed for streamline testing when developing the page and also provided an advantage when working with Golden Door’s booking engine. Future integrations or potential changes to how program data either comes into the SPA framework or goes out to other systems can be managed more effectively without having major implications on the interface.
You can view the Golden Door Program Calendar here
Why Use Single Page Applications?
Let’s backtrack for a second. Why would single page apps be used over other web applications? Well, single page applications try to solve 3 main problems that web apps are often faced with, which are:
- Bad user experience – Continuous page rendering negatively impacts user experience because network delay is clearly visible.
- Poor performance – Every time the page completely reloads, unnecessary re-transmission of data occurs.
- Lack of offline support – A web application continues to function as long as there is a server connectivity. If that connectivity drops, the web app is essentially useless.
SPA’s require no page reload from the browser, and all user interaction and changes of the application state are handled within a single Web document.
What Other Advantages Do Single Page Apps Have?
With no page reloads, comes no extra wait time. The following are some more advantages of SPA’s:
- SPA’s minimize response time by moving working data and processing it from the server to the browser.
- SPA’s can go offline if the connectivity to the server drops. When the connection returns, SPA’s synchronize the local data with the server.
- SPA’s instantly update like a website. Users don’t need to take any action, they can just reload the browser and it works.
Contact us to learn more about Single Page Application and how Van West Media can improve your digital strategy.