Rethinking Website Performance in the Mobile Age

Improving web site performance has become more critical than ever. Page download speed has often been used as a metric when trying to gauge the performance of websites. However, experts have recently suggested that a new approach of tracking website performance ought to be adopted.

The modern day online shopper has come to develop an appetite for lively and interactive shopping experiences. It therefore lays upon the web site developers to incorporate more features into their websites so that the users may get what they yearn for.

It is the numbers of images and features that will dictate the download speed. The more images and features a website has, the longer the time it will always take to download. Adding a single feature may not have any noticeable effect on the download speed, however it reduces the overall speed. As the number of features increases, the web site will have a visible decrease in its speed. The results will be a jump in abandonment rates and decreased conversions.

To attain maximum balance between the performance features, we need to change our way of thinking about performance, from dry speed to how fast a page can be ready for the consumers to use it. Of course, some people may think that the difference may not be that significant and therefore not worth it. However, it goes a long way in enhancing customer’s satisfaction. It is their attitude and perception about a web site that will determine whether they remain loyal to it or simply walk away to another site in the hope that it will have a better experience. This is according to David Hsieh the chief marketing officer for Instart Logic Inc.

For a customer to have good perception about your website, then the site should be fast enough to enable him or her interact with it as soon he or she may expect. This means that the time taken before the interaction begins is very key in dictating the kind of attitude your web site will attract from its potential users. This explains why download times have ceased to be used as indicators of a site’s performance. The shoppers can begin to interact with some of the elements of the page such as images before the entire page is downloaded. This will create the perception that everything has not taken as long to download. In other words, they can begin their product search even before the page has fully presented itself to them. While the shopper has started interacting with the available elements, the other elements can be downloading on the background so that by the time he or she is down with the first interaction, the other information will have fully downloaded.

To prioritize content sent to a consumer’s web browser, the retailers can make use of Instant Logic’s software focused approach to web application. This is done by splitting the content of the page into components. Instart Logic uses Nanovisor.Js; this is JavaScript software which works by positioning itself in between the browser and the web application and gathers information about the application loaded on the browser. It is after separating the page elements that the retailer will decide on which elements to load first by making use of Instart Logics Web Application Streaming Network. Any other content which would have remained will be loaded on the background page. This method is good for both mobile devices and desktops which can display websites that have a lot of features and graphics. The shoppers will have the opportunity to start interacting with the page even before all its contents can fully download. Instart Logic claims that this method is capable of improving the performance of the web site by 30 percent, but can sometimes take it to even 100 percent or more.

There is not much difference between this concept and streaming movies online. Just like pressing the PLAY button to start watching a movie, even while it is still downloading from the web one will also be able to begin interacting with the website even before all its components get to be fully downloaded. With this, retailers have found a way of balancing the performance of their websites and the satisfaction of their customers.

Mobile users

Mobile users

Online retailers have found it is more difficult to deal with users of mobile devices than desktop users. It has everything to do with web site optimization. Mobile users tend to be more critical when it comes to their perception about performance of websites. This can be attributed to the impatient character of the mobile users. They will always want things done with greater urgency and speed compared to their desktop counterparts. In fact, any slowdown caused by congestion in the network is not something they will be ready to understand. It is very much true that the retailers have no control over the limited nature of the mobile devices and congested networks. However, this is why retailers should put in extra efforts to remedy the situation.

Large images can always have their sizes reduced before they are transferred to the mobile device. This will increase the speed delivery and also still maintain the high quality of the images since the pixels will be re-arranged in the resized image exactly the same way they would appear in the original image file. Those images that have not been resized take longer to load. For instance, one may have to wait for a noticeable amount of time if he tries to load an image that is five times larger than the screen of his or her mobile device.

It is advised that the retailers familiarize themselves with the performance capabilities of the devices their shoppers make use of and the speed at which these mobile devices can connect to their sites over the wireless network. This determines how the content is delivered and how soon it will be displayed on the screen. It is unfortunate that many retailers are yet to be exposed to this vital piece of wisdom.

Yottaa, a retailer website company has globally distributed content using a network of physical and cloud hardware. This is part of its cloud based User Experience Optimization service. Here they are able to leverage a content delivery network partner’s presence points so as to cache immobile content. At the request of a retailer’s site by a mobile user, Yottaa’s platform will identify those points of presence that are as close as possible to the location of the shopper. It will then direct the delivery of static assets from the control delivery network to the user. Due to the fact that the platform gets to locate a point of presence that is as geographically close to the shopper as possible, everything becomes easy since the content will be delivered at a faster speed than if it were to be delivered from those places that are far away from the shopper.

Cache Static and Dynamic Content

Caching refers to the process of storing frequently requested data in the web browser or at the edge of the internet nearest to the consumers. This is aimed at reducing the number of requests that are normally sent between the browser and the site’s server when the mobile user is doing his or her shopping. In spite of the fact that caching may go a long way in assisting both the retailers and the mobile device users, its use cannot be felt in those highly personalized sites where unique contents are seen by different users, according to their individual needs.

Binary Protocol

Instart Logics Global Network Accelerator makes use of binary protocol to move content. The protocol creates multiple connections between Instart Logic’s global servers. Global Network Accelerator can be compared to a fast lane in the internet enhancing the speed at which data is being transmitted from the web server to the browser. It is good for those pieces of data that are dynamic in nature, for example personalized recommendations.

This can help alleviate problems with congestion of the wireless network. This is a very huge hindrance and will inevitably cause delay in the delivery of the content. Even though that kind of congestion may attack the flow of content in its last stages, the mobile user should not be in a position to realize any perceived drop in the performance of the website.

Online shoppers are increasingly demanding a good quality online shopping experience. Utilizing HTML coding is more affordable for merchants when compared to native applications. HTML based projects are also good in the sense that it can enable one to make changes in the content without the assistance of a more sophisticated programming department demanded by those running native applications.

Vick Vaishnavi, CEO of Yottaa asserts that in as much as HTML may be slower than the native mobile apps, they have a higher level of flexibility when it comes to creating dynamic content personalized to the shopper’s ever changing behavior.

Retailers must take it upon themselves and do homework so that they get to understand the dynamics of the market. To enhance their web applications’ performance, it is highly suggested that they track the page elements and contents that most shoppers have come to develop a special liking for and are therefore interacting with more often. After getting accurate information regarding this, they will then be able to focus on those ways that can help in improving the speed of the websites and consequently the overall performance.

Common sense should be good enough to tell you that people only channel their energies in those areas where there are hopes of getting returns. Therefore, it would not make any sense to increase the speed of those links that are rarely visited by the online shoppers. Performance is with time changing the context in which it is used, as far as web site development is concerned. For a retailer to measure the impact of performance in his or her business, he or she should try to focus on optimizing their sites so that the customers will be in a position to interact with the site in the most satisfying way possible.

Final Thoughts

When it is all said and done, users are not interested in knowing whether your website has been slowed down by the numerous features it has or not. All they need is performance. It is true that any slight enhancement can make your web site be slower and consequently reduce its performance. These could be responsive design, personalization, high resolution images, analytic tools, A/B testing tools and any other additional features. Most of the keen tech savvy consumers prefer high performance web sites. If your site does not respond quickly, users quickly move on to your competitors. And so, it is unlikely that your sales will maintain, let alone improve.

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One Comment

  1. The balance between speed and functionality can be the hardest thing to get right when designing a website. We’ve all given up on websites when they’ve taken too long to load. A good web designer will have a number of techniques in their arsenal to make sure that you can have a great deal of material on a page without allowing it to take too long to load.

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