How to optimize your app’s performance for a better user experience

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How to optimize your app’s performance for a better user experience

Mobile apps have become commonplace tools for businesses to engage their digital-first customers. Unique features. An engaging interface. Compelling content. These are great selling points of a mobile app. But app performance is just as important. To stand out in today’s crowded app market, app developers need to consciously work towards adding value (new features, design, content, etc.) to their apps while enabling users to achieve what they want quickly and efficiently. 

Consider this scenario: You leave for work without having time for your coffee. In the past, you’ve been skeptical about using delivery or food apps due to privacy concerns. Today, you take a chance and install a big-brand coffee shop app so that you can hit the drive-thru and quickly pick up your mobile order – just like their commercials promise.

Here’s the problem: the initial load time of the app is longer than making that cup of coffee at home or waiting in line at the store. Even when coffee deprived, most reasonable people (70%) will abandon a slow app, never to return. Or even worse, people (40%) will jump to competitors to address their needs after a bad in-app experience. 

While it may not convince people to download your app, performance certainly plays an active role in why people continue to engage with your app – or uninstall it. A one-second delay in response can result in a 7% loss in conversion, and nearly one in every two apps are uninstalled within the first month of download. App performance can therefore make or break an app’s success, as it’s directly tied to prolonged usage and user retention.

Contrary to what it looks like, an optimal app performance relies on both the front-end and back-end of app development. While it is true that failing to offer a satisfactory user experience is most likely the result of poorly optimized front-end – like suboptimal data loading or image optimizations – these are not the only indicators of how an app is performing. Mobile app optimization requires both system and device at peak performance levels. 

Here are a few system and device tips to help you optimize your mobile app performance:

  • Network performance:

When it comes to optimizing mobile apps, an excellent place to start is understanding your apps’ performance on various networks and functionalities like Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G, or 5G, and how that performance can be improved. A few ways to instantly improve your app performance are: 

  • Invest in a high-performance back-end server to improve your app’s response time
  • Keep a native database to ensure user data safety even if a server goes down
  • Reduce the number of URL redirects on your screen
  • Place a backup server for users to access your app even if the main server is down
  • Device performance:

– Optimize screen rendering – What if a new user downloads an app, and before they can engage with it, the rendering time of the app takes away their interest? To address this, apps must be tested on different operating systems (Apple/Android) and screen sizes (mobile/desktop) to provide a uniform end-user experience irrespective of the device type.

– Limit energy and memory consumption – Memory and battery life are crucial to mobile users. Hence the less memory and the less battery drain an app can cause, the better its UX will be as a result. Consider minimizing the elements that cause memory consumption like push notifications, memory leaks, etc. Proactively tackle unnecessary battery drains in the development phase to avoid the impact on battery life upon the app’s continual usage later. Alternatively, alerting users to turn off features like GPS and Bluetooth when not in use will help them preserve battery life and position your app as user-friendly and consumer minded.

Even if the optimal user experience is achieved, the app’s back-end must always be taken into consideration. On our user’s journey to caffeinate, something happened in the back-end in each scenario where the app let them down. 

Key takeaways

Let’s imagine our caffeine-deprived user’s journey and all of the things that have to happen for a desirable end-user experience — that results in a cup of coffee and a potential long-term consumer for that app. For developers to caffeinate users and retain them as customers, they need to constantly reflect on the front-end directly correlating to what happens at the back-end and vice versa.

An app crashing at peak user activity indeed results in a negative user experience, but what causes the crash could be nestled in your back-end, and your front-end deals with the consequences. At the same time, optimizing mobile apps also relies on network and device capabilities.

 If it seems like a lot to take in, just bear in mind the following points: 

  • Mobile app performance is more than what is experienced in the front-end; it is also about functionality, speed, and response to user interactions.
  • App performance is an essential component of app development. Potential users won’t just uninstall an app when annoyed; they will likely seek a competitor to address their needs.
  • Improving app performance includes but is not limited to optimizing network and device reliabilities for the app.
  • There are immediate, quick, and easy steps to improve app performance for response time, screen rendering, crashes, and energy consumption. Be sure to implement them today to secure a smooth and enjoyable UX, which will likely result in improved app engagement, customer loyalty, and user retention.

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