The 6 Dimensions of Mobile Performance
Maximizing customer lifetime value in the mobile channel is about creating great experiences woven from the right flow of content and calls to actions. Here at Moovweb, we like to think of page performance along six dimensions: speed, responsiveness, searchability, content, conversion and usability. When we assess an existing mobile experience, we use this checklist as a starting point for identifying quick opportunities for performance optimization:
1. Speed: Cellular mobile networks don’t behave simply like slower versions of broadband networks. Each individual network request has a much higher initial response delay than landline broadband. And every individual image, video, script, style sheet and font generates its own request! That means it’s far more important to bundle and combine page contents into as few files and images as possible than it is on desktop. Using the same technical strategy as for desktop isn't enough.
2. Responsiveness: Many mobile sites are now being built using responsive designs that reflow the same content as the desktop site into new layouts. However, reflowing layout should be just the starting point for your mobile page strategy. Images also need to be explicitly “pre-sized” for various mobile screen sizes, and where possible their compression level should be lowered to save bandwidth. In addition, pages need to have separate tablet and phone layouts. In some cases, we’ve even found that serving tablet-style pages to larger phones converts best.
3. Searchability: Mobile pages need to be correctly configured for the best search ranking. This could include pointing Google back to the appropriate desktop page for indexing (i.e., a “canonical link”). Google has also recently updated its algorithm to promote pages that are mobile friendly over those which are not. Based on our data, we saw about 10 percent of listings being dropped from the first page of search results as a consequence of this Google update in April.
4. Content: Apart from pages on information sites like news, sports and reference sites, pages with 150 words or less above the fold tend to perform best on mobile. Another important consideration is the font. It’s extremely important to get font sizes right for the device — particularly if a significant part of your audience is older and unable to read small text. In addition, it’s surprisingly easy to have calls to action disappear below the fold in poorly implemented responsive sites. For information sites, remember to check how your page will display in “reading mode” on iOS, and consider adding inline calls to action.
5. Conversion: Improving conversion rate is usually a key goal when optimizing mobile experiences. We often find that the best optimization opportunities are in form completion and checkout. Mobile sessions tend to be short and users easily distracted. Therefore, it’s best to avoid long checkouts cluttered with promotions and upsells. Our big tip: Do everything to minimize the number of form fields, and always turn off the built-in autocorrect for form fields!
6. Usability: Start with the basics. The "hitbox" for tappable items should be at least 42 pixels in radius, and there should be at least 20 pixels between items. It’s surprising how easy it is to miss this somewhere on your page. An important part of creating memorable, high-converting mobile experiences is designing and delivering each page for the highest possible level of performance.
Ajay Kapur is CEO and founder of Moovweb, a cloud-based platform that delivers optimized mobile experiences.
Ajay Kapur is the CEO and co-founder of Moovweb, a cloud-based platform that delivers optimized mobile experiences.
The Moovweb Experience Delivery Network (XDN), Moovweb’s flagship product, is an enterprise platform-as-a-service that enables sub-second React websites. Ajay has been involved with smartphones since before the launch of the iPhone. The prior company he founded published apps downloaded by tens of millions of users. Before that, Ajay invested in startups for Goldman Sachs.