According to a recent survey conducted by Compuware, global consumers prefer native mobile apps over mobile websites, primarily because native apps are perceived as being more convenient, faster and easier to navigate. However, if a mobile app fails to work fast and reliably the first time, up to 79 percent of end users will retry it only once or twice before giving up on the app. It's quite clear that users won't tolerate problematic mobile apps.
In spite of this knowledge, native app performance snafus — e.g., crashes, freezes, errors, slow launch times, apps that never properly launch — are common. With consumers expecting fast, reliable app experiences now more than ever, they're often left with unfulfilled expectations. Overcoming performance issues and delivering fast, reliable apps requires a conscious effort throughout every stage of the design and development process. With the stakes so high, what are some techniques for optimizing performance for native apps? Consider the following five tips:
1. Recognize that wireless networks aren't always conducive to excellent performance. Native apps may be pre-installed on a device, but ultimately these apps can only run as fast as the network allows. So, retailers can't just test native app performance over WiFi and assume their end users are having an excellent experience. Rather, retailers need to assume the lowest common denominator of wireless network capabilities and measure the true end-user experience at the most likely connection speeds.
2. Proactively monitor performance for all native app downloads, 24x7. Retailers need to know what's going on with their native apps at all times, especially when performance is going awry. You don't want to find out that something is wrong by seeing a one-star rating in an app store. By then, the damage to your reputation is likely done.
3. Use common monitoring practices for native apps and mobile web apps, even though one is native and the other is a standardized web technology. Specifically, this means that companies must combine end-user experience monitoring with deep-dive diagnostics. Mobile web applications depend on a wide range of web and network technologies performing well, including carriers, ISPs and CDNs. Native apps depend on these same factors, as well as an additional set of factors including signal strength, battery level, device memory and other running applications. Regardless of the type of app, there needs to be an end-to-end view of performance from the end-user perspective so that teams are able to quickly see, understand and address the source of performance problems.