Raise your hand if you’ve ever experienced impossibly slow loading speeds at a concert, sporting event or really any large gathering of people (you can’t see me but my hand is raised high!). This may be one of the most frustrating feelings, and doesn’t it always seems to happen right when you want to share that perfect picture? This phenomenon is referred to as “spectrum crunch”–when we have more people surfing the web and using the data networks than the current infrastructure can handle. Spectrum crunch is an issue for Wifi and data networks alike, because just as traffic jams are happening on data networks, the same happens when everyone transfers to a public Wifi–it’s just too much for any of the current networks to handle.
The good news is there are improvements being made on the wireless network capabilities. Before too long, you will see the rise of 5G happening all around us. Wireless speeds will increase and your ability to download will get a bit easier, but in the meantime, are you willing to risk frustrating your customers with slow loading and downloading? If your answer to that question is no, then let’s walk through three best practices that allow for quick, accessible experiences even when service connection is low.
Keep It Lightweight
Load speed is quite possibly the most important factor in customer satisfaction on mobile. Fifty-three percent of users will leave a site if it takes more than three seconds to load! To keep website traffic high and irritation levels low, focus on a lightweight site. When brainstorming how to achieve this, always think to yourself “How can I simplify this?” A simple and clean design concept will produce more effective load-time results (and will be much more user friendly) than an overdone, complex one. Curious as to how your current site measures up? Check out Think With Google’s Mobile Speed Test!
Mobile caching is the key to unlimited accessibility when it comes to web-based mobile experiences. When web content is cached, information is stored for an offline version of the site that users will be able to access in situations with low or no accessibility. This provides some major advantages for developers, specifically regarding reliability and speed. Gone are the fears that you will lose potential customers or experiences because their accessibility was low or nonexistent. The best way to regulate this and ensure that your site is caching for maximum loading even in offline situations?
Consider Progressive Web Apps
Time to bring this all together: cue progressive web apps, otherwise known as PWAs. These are app-like experiences that host content and data in the cloud. PWAs combine high-speed ability with offline caching to provide an unrivaled experience. These applications look and feel a lot like the native mobile app you are used to, but you no longer have to deal with storage issues and the update process. These bring the first two best practices together in perfect harmony.
Behind the usability of a PWA is an important feature–the service worker. This is key to ensuring cachability, and providing that premier user experience even when service is low. A service worker runs in the background and is responsible for caching information as you browse, so that when you re-access the mobile experience later, you’re still being served content no matter the connectivity situation you’re currently dealing with.
Let’s recap: Users are demanding a faster mobile experience and won’t wait for you to catch on. To stand out from the rest and provide your users with the opportunity to access your platform no matter where they are, consider offering a PWA as a native app alternative. This brings together the speed and reliability that all users are demanding while still providing rich, made-for-mobile capabilities, regardless of connectivity level.