A well-optimized web app can deliver a host of benefits to end users, just as a poorly optimized piece of software will lead to frustration and disappointment.
Even seemingly stable apps can suffer from performance problems over time, so here are some key optimization tips that will help you cope with common web app conundrums.
Delve into the data to work out what’s going wrong
First of all, you need to be able to diagnose the precise nature of the problem that your app is suffering from, before you can then take remedial steps.
The best way to do this is to monitor key metrics and look for any performance bottlenecks which may exist at the moment, so you can determine whether or not improvements can be made to overcome them or hardware changes might be necessary to accommodate them.
Minimize media file size
One of the things to which sluggish web app performance can be attributed is overly large, often uncompressed media files, with images in particular being a bugbear worth addressing if you have the time.
There are lots of tools made for optimizing images, and you can either compress existing files, or change the file type itself. Sticking with the common JPEG format is fine, but you might also consider PNG conversion instead if you are aiming for snappier load speeds and to place less of a burden on your underlying infrastructure.
Consider interface & user experience quality
It is worth noting that web app optimization is not just about ensuring that it runs smoothly behind the scenes, but also that the UX is compelling and engaging on many levels. Keeping customers happy with apps that are logical and intuitive to use will be part of optimizing performance.
Testing apps and asking for feedback from users, rather than simply assuming that the interface is as well-designed as possible, will give you a means to make amends for any issues that have so far remained undetected during development.
Take advantage of strategic caching
The more data that is cached, the quicker web apps will load, but you have a few options in terms of determining where this caching takes place.
You could dump data onto the user’s device when the app is accessed for the first time, so that subsequent uses are quicker to initiate. However, there are downsides to this, and so you might also consider server-side caching which takes advantage of location-specific user adaptations.
Being able to make data available on servers that are as close to users as possible will make apps feel far more responsive from the word go, and using a content delivery network to achieve this can keep costs down and also mean that the overall latency is reduced, creating a more consistently enjoyable experience throughout periods of app use.
Install server updates as a priority
While there are lots of variables in terms of web app performance which are out of the hands of the developers and hosts, the server-side aspects which can be controlled should be taken seriously.
Another of these relates to updating the software which is used to run the servers which house the app, since this will not only patch out any performance hiccups which might exist in earlier versions, but will also deal with any security vulnerabilities which have been unearthed in the interim.
In essence, it is necessary to be eternally attentive to web app performance and to use what you learn from looking into how it runs and listening to feedback to inform the next steps that you take for optimization.