We’re rounding up the top 10 web apps of 2016 so you can get inspired. If you’re looking to beef up your web app game, start here.
Native mobile apps for Android and iOS have been all the rage in recent years, but mobile web technology has started making huge inroads behind the scenes.
Web apps are actually just websites, but they act like applications that previously required users to download and install them.
Since web apps are just websites, the success of the best web apps is in their simplicity.
An app can lose 20% of its users for every step between finding and using it.
So the best web apps let users get started immediately, without having to download and install anything.
So let’s take a look at the 10 best progressive web apps of 2016!
Airtable is a spreadsheet/database hybrid. Available for mobile and desktop, all of your data syncs across devices.
Best known for real-time collaboration, Airtable is also completely customizable. You can store whatever data you need, in whatever fashion suits you best.
Airtable provide plenty of templates to help you get started.
You can even add images to your database entries. And you can link fields to make it easier to cross-reference your data.
Most comparable to Microsoft Access, Airtable also offers native apps for Mac OS, Windows, iOS and Android.
Trying to keep up with dozens of online newspapers can be incredibly time-consuming. But that’s where Flipboard comes in.
The online content curation tool lets you design your own ‘magazine’. So you choose the content that you’ll see every day.
You can even collect content while you browse with their bookmarklet. You can easily share content from your own website by adding a ‘Flip’ button.
Remember, Flipboard started out on the web.
3. Google Sheets
In 2005, Google unveiled their Google Apps. They offered a cheap, web-based alternative to Microsoft Office.
Excel still handles more data than Google Sheets. And it still performs financial analysis in a more sophisticated way.
But Google Sheets is perfect for those who don’t need either of those functions.
In 2014, Google even commissioned a report into how people use their Apps. It turns out most people just read spreadsheets, or do very little editing.
So maybe your staff doesn’t need the heavyweight functionality of Excel. Why spend money on a license when they can use Google Sheets?
4. Acuity Scheduling
Acuity Scheduling takes all the hassle out of appointment booking; particularly the back-and-forth time wasting of finding a time when everyone is free.
Just set the hours you’re available. Then contacts can choose the time in their time zone that best suits them.
Best of all, the app also emails reminders to both of you.
There’s also a WordPress plug-in so you can embed your calendar straight into your website.
Having an email list was a must in 2016, and ActiveCampaign was one of the best progressive web apps for email marketing.
It combined CRM (customer relationship management) with email marketing. That allowed you to segment your lists, based on your CRM data.
The app allows you to send emails based on how your contacts interact with what you send.
Throughout 2016, ActiveCampaign added more drag-and-drop functionality to their automation tools.
It has a new Chrome extension, making it even easier to use.
Slack was one of the breakout successes, and also one of the best web apps, of 2016.
Instead of information being lost in long email chains, Slack made team chat easy. Teams could discuss things in group channels, or even have private discussions.
Being easy to use no doubt helped Slack’s success, and it was picked up outside the business world.
Entrepreneurs who wanted to create masterminds around their offerings could choose Slack instead of Facebook Groups.
And the Slack Fund was established to create a Slack ecosystem. That fund invested $1.97m in 11 companies in 2016.
That gives Slack 14 companies, funded by them, to build new products. All to give customers and developers more tools in Slack.
Definitely one of the best web apps of recent years.
Its marketing tools let you manage everything from your blog to your email newsletters.
A big focus of Hubspot is automation, so you can customize messages you send based on a lead’s interaction with your site.
You can also use Hubspot to identify your best-performing pages. You can even use it to create landing pages.
And you can use Hubspot to manage projects and organize your tasks.
8. Agile CRM
Want to turn new leads into paying customers? Then CRM is essential.
Agile CRM gives you all of the tools you need to do exactly that. It keeps all of your tasks, marketing tools, deals, and contacts in one place.
That makes it easier to track where a lead actually is in the sales process.
2016 saw new developments from the Agile CRM team. You can now send video emails, and even voice-search your contacts.
They also added extensions for both WordPress and Joomla.
Best of all, Agile CRM is free for your first 10 users and 50,000 contacts! If you want more features, plans start at $8.99 a month.
OmniFocus is no ordinary to-do list app. It’s also one of the best progressive web apps of 2016.
It operates under the Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology. Essentially, it captures everything you need to remember.
Capturing them is one thing – doing something about them is another.
So OmniFocus helps you to store those thoughts. And it helps you to process them into to-do items that you can actually cross off.
You can also take advantage of its email powered integrations so you can plan things as a team.
10. Office 365
Microsoft hit back at Google Apps with Office 365. And it must have worked.
By September 2016, Microsoft was reporting revenue growth of 51% for Office 365 for the 3rd quarter of the year alone.
Office 365 allows you to give your whole team Exchange-powered email. It also gives you Office Online apps and OneDrive for Business file sharing.
Naturally, it also includes familiar office products like Excel, SharePoint, and Word.
And if you don’t want to use Slack, you can use the new Microsoft Teams app for team chat.
What the future may bring
Although web apps gained massive popularity in 2016, the future of web and mobile web is even brighter.
If you’ve heard the “web is dead” because of native mobile apps, the advent of amazing technology known as progressive web apps (PWAs) is about to change all that.
Progressive web apps now offer much of the same functionality and features as native mobile apps, such as speedy loading time, offline access, and push notifications.
PWAs even allow users to add shortcuts to the home screens of their mobile devices, just like an Android or iOS app.
Created and backed by Google, progressive web apps only require any modern web browser to function.
While users appreciate native mobile apps for the conveniences they offer and problems they solve, many people can’t be bothered by the download and installation process.
That’s why 2017 may become the “year of the progressive web app,” and you heard it here first!
Helping you find your inner genius,
co-founder @ BrainyApps
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