When designing a mobile app, most designers are concerned about the way it looks and feels. The focus is on its beauty rather than performance, but few realize that both depend on each other. While beauty is subjective, it is possible to measure application performance objectively. This article will discuss what “performance” means for your mobile app and make sure your app is fast.
What Is Performance Anyway?
Most developers will agree that performance means how fast the app does what it’s meant to do. It also directly impacts the user experience, and no developer wants their users to be unhappy with an app’s speed and responsiveness. Hence, much attention is given to the performance of mobile applications.
There are hardware limitations; your device’s CPU, GPU, and memory card determine how fast it can process data. When you start developing for iOS or Android, you’re bound to hear about minSdkVersion, targetSdkVersion and API Level, which is the hardware version of your device. It’s also worth mentioning that most mobile devices don’t upgrade with each new OS release, like on PCs, where this is much easier.
Secondly, there are network limitations. Mobile carriers often throttle data speeds once you’ve used up all your monthly allowance (unlimited plans are still a myth). The mobile network you connect to will also affect the overall performance of an application.
Lastly, there is a software component that can potentially slow down your app’s performance. This includes the OS and every app running on top of it, each with its own set of processes, threads and other things that take away resources.
As you can see, many factors influence how fast an app is, not just the programming language or framework used to develop it.
How Can You Measure Performance?
To measure application performance, you need to consider both the speed and responsiveness of every user action. The most common ways include:
- Navigation timings (navigation, rendering of views)
- User interface timings (keyboard events, touch events, gestures, scrolling performance)
- Network access timings (response time for sending and receiving data over the Internet)
- Memory allocation timings (how long does it take to create an object in memory?)
Each of these measurements provides valuable insight into the overall performance of an app.
How Can You Improve Performance?
We already mentioned that performance largely depends on hardware limitations like CPU, GPU and memory. However, you can do some things to optimize the way your app works with these resources.
- Use efficient algorithms (switching from bubble sort to quicksort)
- Only request data when it’s required (use local caching if possible)
- Minimize object creation (use “lazy loading”)
- Don’t block the main thread (use asynchronous APIs or use Web Workers instead)
- There are many ways to optimize application performance, and this article will help you choose the right ones for your project.
Why Is Performance So Important?
What’s even more important than measuring performance is to make sure that you optimize it. It doesn’t matter how great your app looks or what features it has if users can’t use it because of the slow responsiveness.
Apps with good performance tend to generate more revenue and get higher ratings from their users. This drives adoption, which brings even more revenue and even better ratings.
Finally, performance is one of the main factors that Google uses to rank apps in its Play store, so knowing how to make your app fast from day one will certainly help you later on.
In this article, we discussed mobile application performance and how to improve it. We also looked at the most critical factors that influence an app’s speed and responsiveness.
Now that you know the factors go ahead and build the best performing app. Just remember to always run tests on real devices before releasing them into the wild.