Performance is a critical success factor to your Mobile First Approach. Whether you are showcasing mobile web experience or an application, performance is the key. According to a survey, 1 second delay in page load time can lead to 11% fewer page views, 16% decrease in customer satisfaction and 7% loss in conversions.
Outlined below are some of the key performance considerations:
1. Consolidate resources – Consolidation of resources is a great practice, but mobile browsers might not be able to cache large consolidated resources. As a solution, balance this technique with optimized local storage such as HTML5 web storage. At times, tech teams also resort to inlining where resource is embedded in the page’s HTML rather than storing it externally and linking to it. The page size might become larger in this case and hence HTML5 local storage is better. It will improve the performance and ease caching.
2. Eliminate redirects – Mobile First is all about intuitive user experience. Redirects can act as a major bottleneck to flawless customer experience. Eliminating redirects is a key to success as redirects increase the response time leading to compromised user experience. Additionally, avoid 404 errors especially as every HTTP request will add on to a cost.
4. Resize images – Image optimization is a crucial step towards performance optimization. Larger images consume a lot of bandwidth, processing time and cache space. While thinking about the Mobile First design, try to add minified versions of images. You can also load low resolution images and after the page completely loads replace it with high resolution images. However, this treatment is debatable as users have the tendency to quickly swipe, scroll and touch.
5. Reduce the DOM elements and simplify pages – A high number of Document Object Model (DOM) elements (above 500-700 DOM) could hamper the speed and load time. Simplifying pages with HTML5 and CSS3 could be one great option. HTML5 specs include new structural elements whereas CSS3 provides in built support for gradients, shadows, transitions and so on which otherwise would be loading images.
6. Implement smart preloaders – Preloaders are good fun as they help to engage and retain users till the time site is completely loaded. However, if not used in the right fashion, preloaders can increase the bounce rate. Implement smart preloaders that adapt to the type of network connection (preloaders are generally not prefered for the Mobile First Approach)
7. Use touch events instead of click events – While creating mobile products, do consider touchscreen onclick event as if these events do not fire on the spot on a tap, it will a create bad experience. Replace the click events with touchend events so that the event fires immediately when the user taps the screen. For those browsers that do not support touch events, handle onclick events in a way that the appearance of the button show in a clicked state.
8. Use a CDN – Deploying content across multiple, geographically dispersed servers will ensure a faster load time. If mobile users are able to access the site quickly, it would enhance the user experience leading to higher engagement.
9. Reduce cookies size – Going back to thinking mobile website as an application, avoid using http cookies. Eliminate unnecessary cookies that might be impacting the user response time.
Out of the other digital technologies, Mobile first is the next big wave most companies want to ride on. With multiple benefits such as increased user engagement, conversion and spike in traffic from smaller screen devices, mobile first approach will be the game changer. However, against these attractions, companies need to provide a break free experience through performance optimization. A good mobile first strategy isn’t just about designing for the small screen real estate or developing for the smallest breakpoint, it is about the performance optimization, high availability, reduced latency and memorable product experience.