6 Tips To Improve Mobile App Performance
Two and a half billion people around the globe own a smartphone. Since the advent of the modern smartphone that we’re all keenly familiar with, how we interact with our world and each other has changed dramatically. News, banking, gaming, any sector under the sun has an app dedicated to it, readily available at the touch of a button.
Mobile apps are the cornerstone of what makes a smartphone worth using. Convenience, utility, and variety are the backbone that spur the market forward. Any company that does not have an app released or immediately in development is falling toward the back of the train, out of competition with their peers.
As clear as the world culture’s dependence on smartphone technology is, talking about it is one thing. Understanding why mobile apps are the way to the future is another. From the “who-what-where-why-how” laundry list, there are only two pertinent ones worth asking here:
- Why do businesses need to focus on mobile app performance optimization?
- How do you go about improving aforementioned performance?
Here at iTexico, we aim to educate and facilitate the use of software development for building a stronger company. Mobile app performance is only one of many critical assets that deserves to be understood better.
Why Focus on Mobile App Performance Optimization?
Mobile app performance optimization is important because as the world continues to become more interconnected via the internet, the more our daily function relies on the effectiveness of the computers we hold in our very pockets. The convenience that modern smartphone technology has afforded customers to interact with businesses via apps - and vice versa, of course - paves the way for necessitating better, efficient app performance.
Evident changes have been occurring within the last few years regarding customers and app performance. With more reliance on smartphones, the demand for app availability for essentially any and every business imaginable have pushed organization toward developing better methods of interacting with their consumers. Slow, unresponsive apps generally lead to frustration, dissatisfaction, and negative reviews that impact companies’ images.
The customer comes first, and that means meeting the needs of improved app performance on every level.
Users want a smooth, seamless experience with their phones. The general expectation for a standard performance is an app that launches in under two seconds, streamlining app utility and function. However, organizations have been finding it more and more difficult to sufficiently meet the demands consumers expect their apps to deliver on.
The challenge for meeting these expectations comes on two fronts: cost and potential. Any low performance app issues can be fixed, but companies don’t want to break the bank for app development. Even then, pouring too much time and energy into solving these problems may ultimately result in an app that severely underdelivers on their potential. That lack of potential ends up causing consumers to drop the app and never use it again.
There’s a strict bottom line to all of this, and that bottom line is a good user experience. Ensuring that consumers have a positive experience directly translates to increased user retention and conversion from other services. The world runs on hand-held technology, and ensuring that organizations focus on mobile app performance and customization begets growth and progress.
How to Improve Mobile App Performance
It’s no secret that mobile apps have begun taking up larger shares of global online traffic due to their ever increasing popularity. As they account for wider consumption, organizations need to keep pace with the demand. It’s also important to note that, while it’s necessary to meet user’s expectations and demands for a higher quality product, it’s equally integral to be mindful of the current mobile app metrics being tracked.
Standard projections note that by 2020, mobile app revenue will generate around 188.9 billion USD, primarily through app stores and in-game advertising. The lucrative prospects involved with getting skin into this game only increases motivation for delivering on a quality mobile app experience. We don’t need to tell you that if your app fails to perform to expectations, you’ll ultimately miss out on a huge percentage of potential income for your company.
We’re here to help provide the best possible experience for your consumers. To that end, we’re providing a comprehensive mobile app performance checklist to follow.
Mobile App Performance Testing
You’ll need to be sure that your mobile app will be able to hold up its performance for a number of requirements: multiple devices, networks, servers/APIs, etc. Before any official launching of a project, you’ll need to make sure you follow through on proper strategy and procedures for testing. We’ve provided here a short list of tests to run to ensure quality assurance.
An app that’s bugged, opens slowly, or consumes large amounts of memory and battery tends to indicate that the mobile app is far from optimized. Not working out the kinks in the software is the first line of issues that consumers will notice about your mobile app.
- Device compatibility
- You should know what execution environments your mobile app will be able to run on. This includes what sorts of operating systems (such as Apple or Android) it can run on, screen sizes, resolutions, etc.
- App startup time
- The quicker your app can launch, the smoother the user experience will be. First impressions matter, after all. Mobile apps are expected to be immediately available once activated, so you should aim for a startup time under two seconds.
- Memory consumption
- Smartphones only have so much memory to spare between everything already installed. The less memory your mobile app consumes while in use, the more efficient the consumer’s phone will function. There are a variety of factors that affect memory consumption, like push notifications or memory leaks, that should be addressed to ensure excessive consumption is minimized.
- Battery consumption
- Like memory, the battery life of your phone can be quickly drained through continual usage of a mobile app. Special care should be taken to ensure mobile apps minimize unnecessary energy drain from the consumer’s phone.
- App in background
- Consumers should feel secure in that if they move your mobile app to the background while they turn their attention to something else, the app can be retrieved to exactly where it was left off. Apps that can’t maintain their background state can end up losing data, meaning the consumer will lose their progress, have to start from the beginning, and re-enter all their information.
- Integration with other services (location/GPS, social media, Wi-Fi)
- Your mobile app should be able to effectively integrate with other services without stumbling over interference, failures, or app slowdown.
- UI/UX misinterpretation and comprehensibility
- Mobile app UI should be comprehensive, easy to navigate, and easily used. Cluttered and unresponsive UI design makes mobile apps unfriendly to users, leading to consumers dropping the app and never returning to give it a second try.
Mobile apps need to be checked for functionality on networks, such as Wi-Fi, mobile, 4G and so on. Measuring network properties helps inform and define where and when a mobile app can most effectively be used. Ideally, your app will be usable from anywhere there is a connection to a network to the best of its ability.
- Network speed
- Networks come in all kinds of different speeds. Checking to ensure that your mobile app will function across all of them smoothly is a guarantee for constant useability for the consumer. Issues that may arise from different types of networks should also be addressed here before they ruin an app’s experience.
- Packet loss
- Losing information is a teeth-grinder for the average user. If your app does happen to have complete packet loss, it should offer options to attempt to regain that lost information. Apps should resend for information after packet loss, as well as otherwise offer immediate alerts or prompts for the user to attempt packet loss recuperation.
Responsiveness when interacting with servers is a vital part of a mobile app’s allure. Your app should be able to readily, quickly, and effectively communicate with the server for optimum performance.
- Data to and from server
- Handling data from the server should be efficient with low load times. This includes accurate conversion from other app formats into a relevant format. Data communication can end up slowing your phone and making it unresponsive, so smoothing out efficiency keeps your app running up to par.
- Server downtime
- Keeping a native database will ensure, even when the server is down, that data can be safely stored. You may also keep a backup server in case your main one goes down. Main server connection or no, consumers should be able to safely access your mobile app.
Mobile App Performance Optimization
Mobile app testing is the first step. Once you’ve ensured your app functions reliably with minimal bugs, you can focusing on genuine optimization. A functioning app is no more than the bare minimum for sinking your teeth into the mobile market. To actually get ahead involves a little more forethought.
1. Using a CDN to accelerate APIs, therefore reducing payload, latency, size and round-trip time.
APIs make it possible for your app to communicate and display information originally received from other application, like weather or traffic, and display them in a comprehensive format. A content delivery network (CDN) makes use of servers spread across the nation to accelerate API communication. By using an edge server that is geographically close to the user, payload, latency, size, and round-trip time is mitigated since distance is reduced.
2. Resize, cache, and compress images to reduce load time.
The larger the image, the slower your app will be in order to properly load. There are a few things you can do to speed up the functionality of your app.
Compression, for example, lowers the amount of bytes in an image without decreasing the resolution.
Resizing images allows you to appropriately accommodate images to your mobile app, sparing the extra bandwidth that would be required to show the whole original image.
Finally, caching downloads images from the network onto the computer’s memory. Once there, the mobile app will no longer be required to load it from the external network each time, instead drawing on its own internal memory.
Each of these options reduce the amount of work your mobile app has to go through to generate their assets, meaning load time will speed up.
3. Cut down on features that are not essential for app performance.
Superfluous features may make the app look prettier, but they become a burden on performance. A large amount of features, especially ones that are necessary for the app to function, slows down the app. Removing the unnecessary weight and honing the features that are integral to the app enhances speed, responsiveness, and overall performance.
4. Reuse data templates to help your app load faster.
The less data templates you have to load, the quicker your app functions. Rather than designing multiple data templates for your app to load, reuse the ones you already have. Resourcefulness means a lighter load to carry.
5. Load data as you need it by split up assemblies or pre-loading/pre-fetching the data.
Loading all the app’s data at once only serves to slow it down. Rather than working with large chunks of data at a time, you should consider utilizing split up assemblies to break down the data into easily retrievable information. When pre-loading or pre-fetching data, the important information you’re looking for loads more quickly than other assets on the app, increasing the speed of pertinent information. You don’t need all the data on the app at once, after all, just the important parts.
6. Create an offline mode in case that network connection drops.
An offline mode creates a buffer for your information to be safely saved in the case of an unexpected loss of network connection. Without an offline mode, if you were suddenly disconnected, then all the data you were using is discarded. With an offline mode, you’re given the option to save your data now and then return to it later once the user is reconnected. An offline mode means security in information, reliability, and user ease-of-mind.
The most important aspects of your mobile app to consider are reliability, functionality, and ease-of-use for the consumer. Mobile app performance should be fast, comprehensive, and pertain only the relevant information that’s directly involved with the function of the app. With how massive the mobile app market has grown in the last few years, optimizing your company’s mobile app will end up providing massive revenue and satisfaction from your users. While the mobile app market is saturated with options for nearly every need or desire, you can still deliver a memorable product, that is why we recommend you to explore further the mobile app development lifecycle.
The customer’s first experience with your app is the most important thing to consider. Most users, when confronted with a slow, unresponsive app, tend to uninstall it not long after. Keep your first impressions in the green with an effective, customer experience-focused app. With proper management of resources and features, a mobile app can prove to be an invaluable asset for your organization.