Perceived Performance: Ways to Boost Web & Mobile App Performance
Users rely on applications to perform their tasks on time. Thus, an app should be snappy and smart enough to perform a task swiftly. With the multitude of existing apps across mobile and web platforms, users have the option to pick and choose. As a result, developers face the challenge of retaining existing users as well as attracting new ones.
People prefer only those apps that exceed their expectations. It may not be easy to judge the performance of an application on the surface. However, forming an opinion in this regard is not difficult either if one considers the perceived performance of mobile app. This rule is also applicable to web-based applications.
For this reason, experienced developers tend to emphasize perceived performance while developing an application. It can turn a fine-looking app in to an eye-gabbling application for a user.
This post will outline how perceived performance helps improve the performance of mobile and web apps.
How to Enhance the Performance of Web Apps through Perceived Performance
An app operates distinctly from a conventional website. For instance, a user may come across Internet connectivity issues or network problems at any time while using an app.
When visiting a website, browsers provide users with ready-made solutions to such problems. However, it may not happen with applications.
In such situations, the onus shifts on developers to keep the user experience on course. For app development professionals, perceived performance is the only means to accomplish this task.
To prevent users from developing a negative notion about their apps, developers use the concept of loading states. Among other things, they indicate the activity of an app in the background.
Most developers believe the efficiency of an app depends on it performance concerning these loading states. In a way, this approach makes sense as it sets the tone for an app to buy more time. This way, it hides the fact that an app is slow and sluggish.
Just as a website does, some mobile applications also take time to load the actual content as requested by a user. Taking too long to retrieve a user’s desired content can prolong the waiting period. This happens especially when an app deals with a task involving a heavy computation.
Skeleton views play a vital role in concealing the effect of the lag in loading the actual piece of content. These views keep an individual engaged until the time it is ready.
On a developer’s part, the sure-fire way to enhance the perceived performance during skeleton views is to add an animation to it. This not only ensures user engagement but also indicates what lies ahead.
On average, everyone operates with a tight schedule. Thus, it is of paramount importance for an app developer to make sure their app provides output in quick time.
The standard duration for an app to respond may range from 100 to 300 milliseconds. This means an app should roll out a response in as quickly as 1/10th of a second. Though it may vary depending on the nature of a task, this is the standard period for an app to respond to a user’s query.
In the event an app takes longer than this duration, a user may abandon their action and switch over to another task. Developers generally use the optimistic layout of an application to overcome this limitation. By showing that something is loading, they aim to prevent a user from believing that an app has stopped working.
The use of buttons or a loading state creates a positive impression in the mind of a user about an app. Going by the expert opinion, this can be a powerful medium for mobile app perceived performance for an app with an optimistic layout.
On websites, it is commonplace to find content with high-resolution images. Apart from webmasters, even users do not see anything wrong with it. However, for mobile applications, it can prove to be a liability.
Considering that mobile users appreciate lightweight applications, images with a larger number of kilobytes can slow down an app.
That said, images constitute one of the core components of app content.
Is there a way to collaborate the content of an app with images sans such issues? The answer is “yes”.
Image compression is a technique which enables developers to put images in mobile applications without causing it to slow down. But even this solution can sometimes bring about a reduction in the overall quality of an image.
Some websites like Medium have an answer to this question. Such websites use a technology called progressive image loading. This is a technique which enables a user to see the preview of an original image before it loads fully. That is to say, it shows the lightweight preview of the actual image to a user.
Under this approach, an app displays the smallest possible size of an image without divulging its various details. It enables an app to show the lighter version of an image without any size-related issue.
It loads a placeholder which occupies the space when an image fades. This arrangement allows bulky image files to appear on an app, and even a webpage, consistently without any performance lag.
To improve the perceived performance of web app or mobile app using this technique, a developer does not need to worry about the size of the image. All they need to do is select an image which gives the best preview.
As a core component of the mobile experience, animations draw the line of distinction between native mobile applications and their web version.
When replaced with eye-catching animations, progress bars and activity indicators look different to the eye. Their striking appearance can make users fall in love with them at first sight.
How to Enhance the Performance of Web Apps through Perceived Performance
Perceived performance is not only confined to mobile applications. It has transcended the boundaries of mobile apps to feature in web applications as well.
Perceived performance also finds its usefulness in software programs that are intended for websites.
Here’s how developers can deal with the challenging task of enhancing web app perceived performance.
Empty states and haptics feedback
Apart from screens with some textual or image-based content, a development professional can make a web or mobile application more lively and positive even with blank screens. Such screens constitute empty states.
Alongside empty states, features such as vibration can also work wonders in boosting the impression of a mobile app. Though rare, a web developer can sometimes consider implementing its concept in the development of web applications too.
The best thing a developer can do is strike the right balance between empty states and haptics feedback in an app. While the former concerns itself with empty screens without any information, the latter is about tactile information relating to one’s sensations.
Whether it is a mobile application or a web application, these two vital features can help enhance retention based on user-engagement. Besides, the combination of both enables a developer to create new opportunities and make the most of them.
With prominent features such as adding a friend on a social media site or a social app, it opens up a window of opportunities for interaction. Besides, it also does a world of good for bettering the user experience.
The scope for using animations for web-based applications is even more compared to their mobile versions. That is to say, a web application developer can use animations in a more pronounced way than a mobile app developer.
While standard images seem monotonous to the eye, animation-based images look equally fresh and exciting on websites. Regardless of the size of type of image, a developer can make the appearance of an image inventive by making use of the concept of animation in them.
As discussed before, web browsers make things a little simpler for web developers in terms of keeping the visitors to a site engaged even when there is some delay in the retrieval of the actual content.
Some images may have heavier content, whereas others may have content of moderate size. In the case of the former, image preloaders hide the imperfection involved in the lag in the loading speed of an image. As a result, it successfully camouflages the delayed appearance of an image without a user knowing about it.
A web developer can raise the bar of perceived performance on this front by choosing an eye-catchy image that looks great to the eye without revealing too many features. When a visitor to a website sees the preview of an image, they stay put on it under the impression that their desirable image will load soon.
Perceived performance can be a game-changer for both mobile and web apps. Its importance stems from the fact that in this technology savvy world no user wants to wait for a long time to receive their output after sending their input.
Though no user appreciates waiting for a longer duration to get the outcomes, sometimes it may not be possible for an app to respond in a fraction of seconds. In such situations, perceived performance is the only way for a developer to prevent their users from switching to their competition out of frustration.
If you are a developer, you can improve the impression of perceived performance for your mobile or web application by adding the aforementioned features to it. This is your best bet to take your app from good to great, and make it look outstanding to the end user.