Speed is King with Mobile Websites
Tips to Make Your Website's Mobile Presentation Load at an Acceptable Rate
By Larry Mogelonsky President & Founder, LMA Communications | March 01, 2015
When it comes to a website's mobile presentation, slow and steady does not win the race. You want your web pages to load as fast as possible with a fluid, oft-simple navigational flow that lets viewers easily bounce around to find exactly what they want. It's a different behavior than someone surfing the web via a desktop or laptop. Some of the reasons for this may be obvious while others may not.
It's a given that we all despise the lag while our smart devices' browsers fill our screens. An extension of this is cognitive drift – the point at which we've waited so long we just don't care anymore. We move on to another site, which (in dire situations) might be an OTA or a direct competitor. While statistics vary by device, demographic and one's state of mind at the time, a rule-of-thumb average for cognitive drift on mobile platforms is four seconds. Anything longer than that and you'll risk consumers migrating away from your website out of frustration or not returning for subsequent visits.
Given that consumers nowadays are increasingly using smartphones and tablets for more and more of their daily web-related tasks, designing a comfortable user experience on these platforms must be a top priority. Add to this the fact that websites loading is delayed on mobile devices relative to desktops or laptops because of reduced processing speeds, memory capacities and 3G/4G/LTE setbacks. Not only is cognitive drift a problem, but any sluggishness in this regard decreases consumer confidence in your product; they'll uphold another web address as their reputable source.
As a start, have you ever looked at your website from a guest's perspective? Obviously this point-of-view exercise is something you embark upon right from the start. Furthermore, have you tried your site out on various mobile platforms? Given that the screen sizes are different, consumers' purposes are likewise different from platform to platform. As it concerns travel, smaller devices are often used for quick information access whereas larger screens are for exploratory research. And if prospective guests cannot utilize your brand.com's mobile presentation to speedily find what they need, they will look elsewhere while you will lose the chance to subtly build relationships and give said guests the opportunity to discover other pages.
While it's great to know the magnitude of this issue, what's better is to have a few solutions at the ready. While this could easily digress into a conversation about behind-the-scenes programming tactics such as consolidating a page's cascading style sheets (CSS), eliminating unused code or utilizing image sprites, let's steer clear of the outright tech talk and focus on what managers can do.