Users patience with clumsy mobile pages and apps have considerably waned over the past few years. The proliferation of smart devices has trained us to expect to move through a brand's site or app almost instantly. It is reported that 29 percent of the smartphone users switch to another app if the need for speed is not met. In fact, 79 percent of those who switch, do so because of slow loading time.
Due to the voracious speed at which technology is moving, you need to be on your toes to retain users. If your app takes a long time to load, many users will abandon it without even seeing what the app offers. Analysis of critical 1-star reviews of mobile apps by Appurify found that more than half of users complained about the app's performance; 15 percent of those were specifically about speed. Similarly, findings of the 2015 survey conducted by Dimensional Research noted that 36 percent of users had made a lower opinion of a company due to the performance of their app.
These stats highlight that speed is a primary factor for all mobile apps. Fortunately, there are some tips and adjustments you can make to remove speed bumps and reduce fallouts. Without further ado, let's get started with them.
1. Use performance monitoring tools
The first step to address concerns regarding an app's performance and speed is to understand your bottlenecks. These may include server- and client-side issues, issues in internal app mechanics, or others. When you have the proper monitoring and debugging tools at hand, you can test your app and use the insight from the tests to improve the speed of your app.
2. Cache data
The cache is a portion of the computer's memory that retains recently utilized data for faster retrieval. Downloading external resources is often time consuming, so cache your data as much as possible. The caching mechanism can reduce the number of requests processed by the server.
When a client device makes a request, the cache-control header communicates with the device if the same resource will be reused within a short time frame. The client device that receives a response sets an expiry time and won't request the same resource again for the set time. Instead, it will load the cached copy of the resource which often loads instantly, thus, saving battery and bandwidth usage on a mobile device.
Caching in app works in the same fashion. When a user requests for a particular data at the mobile API, the app checks if any cache entry exists for it. If it does, the data is immediately returned. In case there is no cache entry, the app accesses the required legacy system and generates the response. The response is then stored in the cache for any future requests.
3. Data compression
Too much of data slows down a mobile app. The more data a server has to load, the longer it will take. The easiest solution is to remove or compress data without sacrificing on the rich features and app functionality. By reducing the size of images, videos, graphics, and other content, you can lessen the loading time significantly without messing with the handy features of the app.
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4. Focus on your slowest links
A chain is only stronger as its weakest link. This saying holds true for mobile apps as well. No matter how well designed your app is, it will be as slow as your slowest link. If you want to ensure that your app delivers optimal performance, you'll have to pay attention to network, application servers and other factors that determine an app's speed. Use replicated infrastructure and remove single points of failure because even a single point can be a significant performance killer.
5. Solve network errors
Network errors or HTTP errors hinder a user connection to a network, resulting in app crashes and fallouts. While it may be tough to reduce these errors to zero, you can handle them in a way that user is at least aware of what is going wrong with the app. Luckily, there are tools available that monitors when your app slows down or frequently crashes. These tools help you pinpoint issues with the app so you can timely address them. Good caching can also minimize the impact of these errors, as it reduces the dependency of users on the network system.
6. Update your app constantly
Most of the times, developers ignore to update their apps regularly for the latest versions of OS. Whether it is an android app or iOS app, even the most successful apps need to be optimized for the latest framework and platform versions. Older platform versions don't often receive enough support from vendors, and hence, they become obsolete after some time.
Therefore, you need to update your app and adhere to the latest trends in app development and design. You also need to test your app on new platforms and optimize it for the latest versions of operating systems. It will speed up your mobile app and improve the overall user experience.
7. Use stable and reliable SDKs and third-party libraries
Sometimes a problem may occur in sources you least expect and deteriorate your app speed and performance. These include issues in the libraries and Software Development Kit (SDK) provided by the vendor. This is because third-party libraries are after all codes and codes can have bugs and dependencies. Such problems are difficult to address since the SDKs, and third-party libraries are, at times, out of a developer's control.
Make sure you use libraries that are stable, secure, reliable, and have a large community. Otherwise, insecure libraries that have errors and bugs will only affect the speed and performance of your app.
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The performance of your mobile app directly affects user retention rate, download ratio, conversions, and of course, your revenue. There isn't any issue that cannot be fixed. Be sure to utilize the tips so that your app doesn't lose out in the speed factor.
This is a guest post by Audrey Throne. Audrey is a mother of a 3-year old and a professional blogger by choice. Throne is passionate about lifestyle, business, automotive, technology and management and blogs frequently on these topics. Find her on Twitter: @audrey_throne.