New install surface for progressive web apps

Richer PWA installation UI

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This is an experimental UI, and could potentially change in the future depending on developer, user, and partner feedback. We are also planning on expanding the UI to consider use cases where users need to be educated about powerful features like WebSockets.

Introduction #

Mobile devices and the introduction of device vendor app stores have changed users' mental model of how to discover, evaluate and install software. Users are now so familiar with app stores, and the additional information that is provided through app stores such as context about the app, social feedback, ratings etc that you see the app store metaphor emerging in Desktop operating systems including ChromeOS, Mac and Windows.

Challenge with today's install surfaces #

Today, if a user wants to install a PWA, an infobar and modal overlay appears with minimal information. If they continue to install, the process is over too quickly without giving context to the user. This goes against their expectations of installing apps and can leave them somewhat confused about what has happened.

An example of PWA install UI

To enable developers to provide installed experiences on par with native experiences Chrome is introducing a new install surface, Richer Install, that allows developers to add a description and screenshots to their manifest file and have it appear in a bottomsheet dialog within Chrome for Android.

Example of bottomsheet UI in Chrome

Example of bottomsheet UI in Chrome.

This gives developers the opportunity to create a more enticing install process that better aligns to user expectations and that mimics their existing mental model of installed experiences.

Richer Install UI Expanded

Richer Install UI Expanded

Richer Install UI Collapsed

Richer Install UI Collapsed

Backwards compatibility #

Websites that do not include at least one screenshot to their manifest file will continue to receive the existing prompts. This may change in the future depending on uptake of the developer community and users' reaction.

Previewing the UI #

This UI works in M91 non stable channels (Chrome Dev and Chrome Canary) on Android, with the flag #mobile-pwa-install-use-bottom-sheet enabled in chrome://flags.

This feature is enabled on and can be previewed there. As an aside, #screenshots and #description fields are already documented; you can give it a try behind the flag.

Implementation #

To enable Richer installs on your site you need to add at least one screenshot to your manifest file. Descriptions are not required but are recommended.

Origins that are too long to fit the UI are truncated, this is also known as eliding and is used as a security measure to protect users.

Let's take a look at how you can trigger Richer Install UI when installing a PWA. This is an example of a implementation. Let's assume that you have your name and origin defined.

The manifest should look like this;

"name": "Squoosh App",
"icons": [{
"src": "image/icon.png",
"sizes": "512x512",
"type": "image/png"
"start_url": "/?start_url",
"scope": "/",
"display": "standalone",
"background_color": "#fff",
"theme_color": "#fff"

Now add the screenshots to the end of the manifest.json file;

Screenshots #

To add screenshots you need to determine the size, source and type, following this criteria.

  • Width and height must be at least 320px and at most 3840px.
  • The maximum dimension can't be more than 2.3 times as long as the minimum dimension.
  • Screenshots must have the same aspect ratio.
  • Only JPEG and PNG image formats are supported.

Currently animated gifs are not supported. Also, you need to include the size and type of the image so it is rendered correctly. See this code example.

"screenshots": [
"src": "source/image1.gif",
"sizes": "320x640",
"type": "image/gif"
A single screenshot added.

A single screenshot added.

Description #

Descriptions are not compulsory, so there is no minimum requirement. However, there is a maximum that kicks in after 7 lines of text (roughly 324 characters). After this an ellipse will appear and truncate longer descriptions (for example).

In the future we will consider adding other data such as categories and app rating, but this will be based on feedback from developers and users. See the example code here.

"description": "Compress and compare images with different codecs 
right in your browser."
Description added

Description added.

A longer description that has been truncated.

Longer descriptions are truncated.

Feedback #

In the coming months we would love to see how developers explore this new UI patterned and we would like to get feedback from you. Reachout to us on Twitter.

Last updated: Improve article

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