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What Is a Web-based Application? Examples and Benefits

Web Application Development   -  

April 26, 2024

Table of Contents

Though not a new terminology in 2022, a web-based application still confuses those newly coming to this domain. And one important question arising here is: Should web apps be invested in if your business goes digital? The Designveloper article takes you around the key points of this segment, including:

  • What is a web-based application?
  • Typical examples of web apps
  • Potential advantages of web apps

What Is a Web-Based Application?

You’re surfing Facebook on a mobile browser, and suddenly see a notification from Facebook that encourages you to download its mobile application. For the public, the web-based Facebook version is nothing short of a typical website. But in fact, it’s better known as a “web-based application” or “web app”. 

web-based-application-facebook

So what is a web-based application?

By definition, Web-based applications are a form of software that lets users connect with a remote server via a web browser. A web app is software using web technologies and running based on web servers. 

It differs from a standard website because its outer appearance and functionality resemble those of a native application more than a website. And it’s mainly designed for interactions with users. 

Having said that, it’s hard to say that web app development and their native counterparts have no differences. In comparison with mobile and desktop applications that require certain operating systems (e.g. iOS, Android, or Windows), a web app doesn’t need one. Instead, with a client-side program (a “browser”) through which users run the web application, can they access remote databases to obtain required information, regardless of device? 

Today, there are few better examples of a web application that looks and functions just like a native app than Canva. You can use it for a wide range of design needs, including the creation of a logo, collages, and even to craft your resume without downloading anything, all from the comfort of your browser.

FURTHER READING:
1. Web App vs Website: Why Is It a False Dichotomy
2. Web Application Architecture: Types, Components, and Tools to Creates
3. Web Application Development Tutorial: The Ultimate Guide For Beginners
Web application development topic

Common Ideas of Web-Based Apps

In this era, information needs to be fast processed and presented to promptly meet user and business demands. Companies accordingly require a place to congregate all necessary data and directly communicate with users. It’s when web apps come into play. 

Individuals and companies customize web applications as per their ultimate goals and requirements. But generally, these software programs are considered an effective means of communication with users. 

web-based-application-from-bmw

For clients, web apps help interact well with organizations through online forms, shopping carts, content management systems, and more. Therefore, some common web-based app ideas to do so include:

  • Online payment systems;
  • Content management systems that are capable of handling massive data and managing simultaneous projects;
  • Systems where customers book tickets, accommodation, and more;
  • Online retail and online banking systems that work with client inputs (e.g. sign-up information).

For employees, web apps are cost-effective vehicles to share information, cooperate on projects, and build and work on documents. Some typical examples entail Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Sheets.

FURTHER READING:
1. Web Application Examples and Definition for Beginners
2. 24 Web App Ideas that Work for Your Next Project in 2023
Web application development topic

5 Examples of Web-based Applications

A high-functioning, visually striking web-based application is your first strong impression on potential customers. A web-based application design that feels seamless and breezy to navigate will result in strong leads and increased conversions. Need examples? Here are our favorite web-based applications

Airbnb Inc.

Airbnb Inc.

Airbnb sets a stellar example of user-centric design, epitomizing the essence of a web-based application. The platform seamlessly blends visually appealing interfaces with intuitive navigation, enabling users to effortlessly explore and reserve accommodations. Its innovative approach intertwining housing options with tourism activities underscores Airbnb’s dedication to crafting an immersive and visually captivating user journey.

Regarding statistics, Airbnb recorded an impressive $9.9 billion in revenue in 2023, marking a substantial 19.2% year-on-year increase. With a vast estimated user base of 265 million, Airbnb saw a significant uptick in activity, with 448 million bookings made on the platform in 2023, reflecting a commendable 13.9% growth from the previous year. Furthermore, Airbnb boasted 7.7 million listings managed by a dedicated community of four million hosts.

Recent reports also highlight Airbnb’s noteworthy operational advancements. Notably, in the fourth quarter of 2023, total orders surged by 23% year-over-year to reach an impressive 574 million, accompanied by a 22% year-over-year increase in Marketplace Gross Order Value (GOV) to $17.6 billion.

Speaking of improvements, Airbnb has focused on enhancing its user interface, particularly in optimizing the food ordering experience. Users have lauded the platform for making it easier and quicker to find restaurants and food items, a critical enhancement that directly influences users’ decisions to remain loyal to Airbnb.

Doordash

Doordash

DoorDash stands as a quintessential example of a web-based application, excelling in both design simplicity and functionality. Its clean and straightforward user interface ensures seamless navigation through a diverse range of restaurant options. The intuitive design streamlines the food delivery process, contributing significantly to a positive user experience. Additionally, the integration of real-time order tracking further amplifies user engagement and satisfaction.

In terms of statistics, DoorDash reported revenues of $8.63 billion in 2023, marking a notable 31% increase from the previous year. Despite a net loss of $558 million in the same period, there was a significant 58% reduction in loss compared to 2022. With 37 million users, primarily from the United States, DoorDash maintains a substantial market presence, commanding over 60% market share in the US according to Second Measure.

Reports highlight DoorDash’s remarkable operational progress, such as a 23% year-over-year increase in total orders to 574 million and a 22% year-over-year rise in Marketplace Gross Order Value (GOV) to $17.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Noteworthy improvements in DoorDash’s user interface include enhanced optimization of the food ordering experience. Users have reported a more streamlined process in finding restaurants and food items, which plays a pivotal role in influencing their decision to remain loyal to DoorDash or explore alternative food-delivery services.

Pexels

Pexels

Pexels, a standout example of a web-based application, distinguishes itself through its unwavering commitment to delivering top-notch visuals while upholding a user-friendly design. The platform’s layout is sleek and well-organized, facilitating seamless image and video searches and downloads. Its minimalist design ethos perfectly aligns with the goal of providing a straightforward and visually captivating experience for designers and content creators.

In terms of statistics, Pexels boasts an extensive library of images and videos, with thousands of new additions daily. Covering a wide array of categories such as user experience, graphical user interface, and statistics, this comprehensive collection caters to the diverse needs of designers and content creators, solidifying Pexels’ position as a premier resource for high-quality visuals.

Reports indicate significant progress in Pexels’ operations, including the implementation of quality guidelines ensuring clarity, resolution, and orientation. Moreover, the platform fosters a supportive environment for photographers to contribute and grow, offering features like comprehensive statistics tracking.

Notable enhancements in Pexels’ user interface include the refinement of the search function, enabling users to locate images and videos more efficiently. This pivotal improvement directly influences users’ decisions to remain loyal to Pexels or explore alternative visual resource platforms.

Cargo.one

Cargo.one

Cargo.one is spearheading a revolution in the air freight industry through its innovative web-based application. This platform streamlines the traditionally intricate process of air freight bookings, rendering it more accessible and user-friendly for businesses of all scales.

In recent years, Cargo.one has witnessed remarkable growth, garnering trust from over 15,000 freight forwarders globally. Offering the ability to generate door-to-door quotes in mere seconds and secure capacity with a single click, the platform has significantly enhanced efficiency, resulting in a notable 20% boost in sales conversion for select companies.

Underpinning Cargo.one’s success is substantial investment, with the company securing $42 million in funding from notable investors such as Bessemer Venture Partners. This infusion of capital has empowered Cargo.one to further develop its platform and extend its suite of services.

A standout feature of Cargo.one is its cutting-edge real-time data and analytics product, cargo.one360. This tool furnishes partner airlines with invaluable insights to optimize their sales performance across digital channels.

Furthermore, Cargo.one boasts an extensive airline portfolio, enabling users to compare and book live, contract, promo, and standard rates from over 100 airlines. This comprehensive access to airline rates has prompted companies like PJN Logistics to exclusively select Cargo.one as their digital platform of choice, with a significant 80% of their bookings conducted via Cargo.one.

Behance

Behance

Behance, an integral part of the creative realm, shines in its dynamic role as a hub that not only showcases talent but also sparks inspiration. By the year 2021, Behance has magnetized over 160 million individuals in pursuit of creativity, accumulating a staggering 2.25 billion views on displayed artworks. The platform’s design empowers artists to unveil their creations in visually mesmerizing ways, establishing it as an indispensable haven for designers, photographers, illustrators, and other creative enthusiasts.

A standout feature of Behance is its innovative project categorization system. This functionality enables users to seamlessly organize and sift through projects by creative discipline, streamlining the exploration of pertinent content. Moreover, Behance’s interactive portfolios offer creatives a platform to exhibit their artwork, share their narrative, and engage with their audience.

In addition, Behance provides advanced analytics tools for users keen on extracting insights into their audience engagement, demographics, and top search terms driving traffic to their projects. This data-centric approach equips creatives with the strategic acumen to effectively showcase their work and propel their careers forward.

Outstanding Web App Examples by Designveloper

At Designveloper, we take pride in our ability to craft a diverse range of web app projects tailored to various needs. Among our standout creations are CV Simply and LuminPDF:

CV Simply
  • CV Simply: This online tool redefines the CV creation and updating process. With both open-source and paid plans, users can craft compelling resumes from a plethora of professionally designed templates. The platform also boasts a CV Analysis tool, offering real-time feedback on resume strength and areas for improvement. Furthermore, the Grammar Assistant ensures flawless spelling and grammar, while Smart Suggestions provide content enhancements for every resume field.
LuminPDF
  • LuminPDF: This innovative web app simplifies PDF file management. Users can effortlessly edit, store, integrate, and share PDF files across devices, streamlining document management. LuminPDF offers an array of features, including PDF merging, splitting, page rotation, watermarking, and more. Seamless integration with Google Workspace enables direct PDF editing within Google Drive.

As a leading web and software development company in Vietnam, Designveloper leverages our expertise and experience to deliver high-quality, user-friendly web applications. Our projects prioritize user experience, ensuring seamless engagement. We remain abreast of the latest trends and technologies in web app development, driving innovation and excellence in our work, earning us a reputation as a trusted partner for businesses globally.

How does a Web Application Work?

How does a web application work?
How does a web application work?

There are five integral elements to activate a web application on any device, including an Internet connection, a web browser, a web server, an application server, and a database. Accordingly, a web app works in the same mechanism of action as a website:

  1. A visitor sends a request through a web app’s interface on any browser (e.g. Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox). Say, his or her search for home decoration on Pinterest is a request. 
  2. After receiving the request, a web server delivers it to an application server that generates the requested file from a database. 
  3. Upon obtaining a result from the application server, the web server will give it back to the user’s device. 
  4. Such expected information will be displayed on the web app’s user interface.

Like other applications, a web app requires front-end and back-end scripts to function well. They are written in respectively client-side and server-side programming languages which support browsers. Some common technologies include JavaScript, CSS, HTML, and Python

Competitive Advantages of Web Apps in the Context of Business

Common web based application
Common web-based application

Adopting web-based applications brings your company the following benefits:

1. Accessibility

Unlike mobile and desktop applications, web apps can be accessed whenever possible. As long as you have a well-connected device (e.g. smartphones or tablets), you can approach authorized data stored in remote servers.

2. Lower Investment

No matter which operating system your device is using, you don’t need huge investments in numerous versions of your web app. Therefore, compared to native and desktop software, a web app costs less. 

3. Cost-effective, Fast Deployment

Building multiple versions for different platforms also slows down the launch of mobile and desktop apps. But web apps can solve this problem. Even when your company plans to change from a desktop app to a web analog, the transition doesn’t need additional software. So the web app can be economically and fast deployed. 

4. High Scalability

Web-based applications work based on a web server, as already mentioned. There’s no need to build extra software configurations for your device to run a web app. Not to mention that modern web servers (e.g. Nginx or Cloudflare) are optimized to help web apps handle an excessive number of concurrent users. So, such software possibly performs well when your company or project scales up. 

5. Cloud-Based Storage

The introduction of web-based applications helps businesses solve a big problem related to data storage many companies are facing now. 

More particularly, web apps store all data and files on the cloud. Whenever requested, data can be fast allocated to a user’s device. Meanwhile, corporate data of desktop applications are distributed to various servers which can be categorized into two key groups: cloud and on-premises. This benefits companies in some ways but also acts as a two-edged sword. Requesting data from different sources may slow a desktop app’s performance. 

Additionally, your business can minimize the possibility of losing data incurred by hardware failures when using web apps with cloud-based storage. 

6. Security

Web apps can be more secured if hosted on dedicated servers. Such platforms allow your programs to make full use of a server’s resources (e.g. RAM or storage) instead of sharing them with other sites. Concurrently, they are under the continuous supervision of professional web administrators.

Recommended reading: Web Application Security: The Best Guide and Its Practices

7. Easy Updates and Maintenance

As web apps operate on web servers, they are easy to update and maintain without the need of reinstalling or reconfiguring client devices. 

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs): The Future of Web Apps?

ecommerce-web-based-application

Despite major advantages, there’s no denying that traditional web apps still come with noticeable shortcomings. Particularly, they hardly work offline, assist with touch gestures or send notifications to users like native apps. The lack of some native functionality leads to the introduction of progressive web apps (PWAs) which combine characteristics of both native and web apps. 

Working on PWAs, companies still face visible drawbacks such as incompatibility with some business strategies and partial access to the Internet. But PWAs are believed to help shape a bright future for businesses going digital.

The worldwide progressive web app market reports a forecast compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 34% over the period 2020 – 2026. 

PWAs are also expected to completely replace traditional web apps because the former helps resolve the latter’s existing problems that we mentioned before. Beyond that, PWAs help increases traffic to a business’s website, improve retention through native-like UX and hence boost revenues. Debenhams, a famous UK fashion brand, found a PWA as a key to enhancing customer journeys. Consequently, the brand saw a 40% growth in mobile-based revenues

FURTHER READING:
1. Why Google advocates Progressive Web Apps
2. 6 Best Progressive Web Apps Examples (PWAs) over the Past Decade
3. Progressive Web App Tutorial for Beginners in 2022

Conclusion

“What is a web-based application?” is not a hard-to-answer question. More importantly, a web app is not always aligned with all business goals, visions, and strategies. To avoid unexpected damages (e.g. finance, human resources, or brand image), your company should consider its competitive advantages over other applications. In case you don’t know how to find the best digital solution, you can consult outsourcing services from Designveloper for sound advice.

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