A web application is an interactive program that runs on a web server and is accessed through a web browser. A web app is built so that the user interface provides data back to the development team that designed it. This data offers insights into customer interests, usage, and preferences that can prove invaluable to product and marketing strategies. The data can also inform optimization and other client-centered aspects of web based applications.
A big difference between web applications and webpages is that user experience dictates web application design. Traditional web design is based on server-side programmers making decisions about what might enhance usability. In contrast, a web application has an application program interface (API) that takes in large-scale data from the user side and then funnels that information into automation.
For example, if a company has implemented an e-commerce web application that can track and report on which products a potential customer lingered over the longest, similar items can be suggested by the web application the next time the customer logs in. If that same company only had a website, the user’s experience would be based on what was available to every customer: a static and standardized set of options.
Web application development is the complex process of designing, building, testing and deploying a web-based app. When a business wants to create an online presence, they may choose to create a custom web application. Web applications are interactive pages that enable user input and run on a web server.