3 keys to improving mobile app performance

Mobile apps compete with mobile websites for user engagement. A strong CDN infrastructure helps deliver more speed and availability to users.

by Sam Farraj

Mobile apps are beginning to compete with standard mobile websites in the battle for user engagement. In many cases, it’s easy to see why. Quick access to information with a touch or swipe on the home screen makes mobile apps appealing to download. However, that popularity can be a double-edged sword, making it harder for your app to stand out from the crowd of other apps and app developers. For example, the search term, “weather,” returns approximately 270 results in just the iOS app store alone.

For a mobile app to remain competitive, there are several attributes that contribute to its success. Functionality, design, and reliability are among the key factors in how people perceive any mobile Internet application. In addition to these, speed, availability, and user experience are also very important. For apps using http/https protocols to retrieve data, images, and other content, many important factors in user acceptance may be facilitated through the use of Content Delivery Network services.

Here are three ways that a strong, advanced CDN infrastructure can help mobile apps deliver more speed and availability:

  • Adaptive image compression: Designed to compress JPEG images based on network conditions, which helps pages load fast
  • Pre-loading content: Reduces the time to deliver the first part of the HTML response by loading JS, CSS, and some images earlier
  • Faster routing: Identify the fastest, most reliable path to the origin and deliver content

A recent ComScore report shows that six of the eight top social sites serve more visitors via mobile than via desktop. Coupled with statistics showing that mobile app usage is growing while mobile web usage is declining, this illustrates the importance of making sure that both your mobile app and your mobile website deliver the best and fastest user experience possible.

The need for speed

What kind of mobile apps benefit most by relying on CDN services? Apps that rely on the http/https protocol to deliver content, as well as apps that serve a high volume of images, video, and other rich media content.

Images are delivered and rendered faster if they are optimized for the device on which they will be viewed. Smart phones and tablets have different screens sizes and resolutions. They also utilize different networks, from Wi-Fi to LTE, 4G, and even 3G, which is still a major player in some parts of the world. Adapting images to suit different devices and networks can help render any page faster for mobile users.

Pre-fetching content can improve page load times by bringing small images, scripts, CSS, and other small files to the edge for faster access and delivery. For apps serving streaming or on-demand video and other rich media, a CDN may start the download, but permit the viewer to begin watching the content within seconds. The rest of the content is then loaded into fragments in order to determine the best network speed for the video, reducing or sometimes even eliminating latency.

Smart, optimized routing is a third tool for ensuring high availability and faster page loads, helping apps avoid network logjams by identifying the closest available edge servers and the optimal paths for requests back to the origin servers. Mobile devices are poised to take advantage of the best available network speeds, and smart routing of requests and content can help users make the most of their devices and their mobile web experiences overall.

As mobile apps become more popular for social media and eCommerce sites, using the right tools of an advanced Content Delivery Network can prove valuable for helping your app offer a better end user experience, as well as for contributing to higher customer satisfaction, higher usage, and more downloads.

Are you ready to review your mobile web and native mobile app infrastructure to see how CDN services can help drive more users and more customer engagement via your mobile apps?