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Responsiveness & performance updates

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014 by Servage

Factors Other Than Responsive DesignUsers want good a experience with your website on any device. If you are not making your website easy to use and quick to load, as well as interactive, your project is likely going to be a failure – even though your design is responsive. The responsive design development is carried further on, and today nearly 20% of the websites on the web are responsive – compared to 11% last year. It’s likely to reach the 50% mark in the near future. The motivation behind converting a website to responsiveness is usually a somewhat naive belief that responsiveness solves platform compatibility. However, when we think of responsive web designing, we are going to solve only one problem, which is screen size difference across the desktops and mobile devices. What about performance optimization of your website? What about the conversion rate optimization? What about the search engine optimization? Finally, what about the user experiences on your website? These are among some of the important questions that need good answers if you want the optimum return from your websites, hence ROI of your online ventures. Let us approach these problems from a technical perspective.

Connectivity

Web literature often claims that we are living in the 4G era, but in fact only a fraction of mobile users are on fast mobile connections. Many are still on slower ones that may not even work all the time. Another factor is annoyingly high latency time on mobile devices. Thus, we need to take entirely different approaches in responsive web designing and responsive web programming to deal with such connectivity issues, for instance:

  • Change the document structure according to the devices, their hardware, and OS by detecting them earlier, so our responsive design not only deals with screens, but also covers other factors affecting the performance.
  • Avoid media query scripts in CSS, against these, we have JavaScript to accomplish same tasks without going a too long route of CSS loading at initial stage.
  • Use conditional loading for JavaScript performance improvements, especially image prefetching a mobile version for distributed transfer times, and smaller transfer sizes.

Browser technologies

Investigate your users’ browsers, and make sure that your site can serve them good and fast. Depending on your userbase’s adoption of newer browsers, you can implement more and better features, but must not forget the older versions if you have significant users with them. This is highly dependent on your target group, and should therefore be derived from your own analytics information about visitors.

Testing techniques

Make sure to use proper testing techniques to test your improvements – both conceptually (to match your desired user experience), and technically (to check that they actually work). There is a wide range of tools available to help you with this, but in the end, getting down to testing with a range of real devices is one of the best ways to get the true look and feel of your product tested.

References & more reading
You May Be Losing Users If Responsive Web Design Is Your Only Mobile Strategy
Blame the implementation, not the technique.

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