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How to Improve Mobile App Performance – Guide From Product Manager

Improve Mobile App Performance

Hello to all fellow app enthusiasts!

Are you interested in knowing how your mobile app runs better and no longer worrying about those annoying glitches?

Well, that’s exactly where we’ve all been. You are not the only one struggling to upgrade the performance of your mobile app.

At Appkodes, a reputable social media app development company, we recognize the value of providing flawless performance in each app we build.

Just think, you spent your blood, sweat, and tears developing a truly groundbreaking app, but it gets stuck when users employ it.

But do not worry! Today we’ll be going into the details of how to improve mobile app performance. Consequently, find a comfortable spot, and I’ll tell you about increasing your app’s performance right now!

Choosing the Proper KPIs

To enhance mobile app performance, we need to sort out all application performance issues first. Mobile application performance issues can be solved efficiently and effectively by choosing the right KPIs as our starting point. Let’s zoom in to pinpoint the key KPI categories.

User Acquisition Metrics

  • Customer acquisition cost (CAC): This metric is used to calculate the cost of acquiring a new client. Through tracking CAC, you can assess the effectiveness of your marketing and advertising resources, this helps you get the most out of your advertising budget for user acquisition.

Engagement and User Experience Metrics

  • Session length and depth: Session length is the duration of a single visit, while session depth is the number of screens or actions that a user performs during a session. They reflect users’ interest in the application and how “sticky” it is.
  • Daily active users (DAU) and monthly active users (MAU): DAU and MAU metrics identify the unique users who made the app their daily and monthly routine. These metrics are instrumental in determining user retention and ultimately the overall health of app user base.

Technical Performance Insights

  • Load speed: Load speed is the time it takes for your app to open and show the content. A fast-loading app helps increase user satisfaction and decreases bounce rates, while poor load time might lead to frustration and leaving the app.
  • App crashes: The app crashes when your app suddenly ceases to function. The gaining of insight into app crash frequency and causes is primary to discovering and overcoming technical glitches that could result in UX and retention issues.
  • Device compatibility: Since there are numerous devices and operating systems, cross-platform compatibility is a chief concern. Device compatibility measures enable you to detect any performance or bug issues associated with particular devices so that you can improve your overall user experience.

Improve Mobile App Performance: Causes & Solutions

In the process of finding how to improve mobile app performance, you need to identify all possible causes for app performance issues and should come out with an appropriate solution. This will support you in getting better and more satisfying results on your app.

Let us identify some key causes and we have also provided you with some positive solutions. Hope this is going to work well in improving your mobile app performance.

causes and solutions

1. Slow Response Time

Delayed loading in mobile apps frequently happens when the communication between screens and the server API is slow. It could be due to unoptimized code and the practice of loading large chunks of data at a time.

Solutions

  • Developing well-optimized APIs: Make sure the APIs are designed and implemented in an effective manner that processes requests and responses with speed.
  • Organizing and segmenting the API flow: Divide API functionalities into more manageable pieces for better communication in the process and to reduce response time.
  • Loading APIs selectively: Retrieve data from the server only when it is needed to limit unnecessary data transfer and enhance performance.
  • Avoid bulk data loading in a single API call: Rather than loading all the data in a single API call, it is better to fetch data incrementally or on demand which improves the effectiveness.
  • Continuous database optimization throughout development: Frequently adjust the database structure and queries to enhance data retrieval and processing speed, letting the API function properly.

2. UI Lagging and Stuttering

UI lags and stutters may arise as a result of leaving long-running jobs to the main thread, loading all UI elements without considering the rendering mechanism, or ignoring memory leaks.

Solutions

  • Utilize background threads and asynchronous tasks: Run operations that take a long time in background threads or asynchronous tasks in order not to block the main UI thread and thus the UI flows smoothly.
  • Simplify UI design: Reduce the complexity of UI elements to avoid rendering overhead and improve performance. Do not clutter screens with superfluous materials.
  • Manage memory leaks effectively: Adopt best memory management practices that will help identify and deal with memory leaks immediately. Implement good object lifecycle management to avoid memory leaks which may lead to poorer performance.

3. High Battery Consumption

However, there are several causes of this particular application performance issue. Network requests are done over and over again even when there are no signals. Therefore, if the phone is always sending and receiving data, it will drain the battery quickly.

The background processes continue taking their toll on device resources such as battery power besides bringing little or no user benefits at all. Consistent GPS use for tracking location burns a lot of battery power as compared to when apps only access location data a little bit.

Solutions

  • Send the API requests in batches: Rather than making individual API requests for each data object, group similar requests to reduce the number of transmissions through the network, and in this way, conserve the precious battery life.
  • Reduce backend request frequency: Intensify the rate of battery consumption by decreasing the number of backend calls per unit time and lessening unneeded data polling time intervals.
  • Use local data and cache: Implement local data storage and caching strategies to store frequently accessed data locally on the device instead of querying the remote server all the time as doing so conserves battery power.
  • Use location access only when needed: Ask only for location permission from the device when it is needed and avoid continuous location tracking to save battery power.
  • Schedule background task callings: Scheduling background tasks and processes to run at prescribed intervals or during optimal device usage times can greatly improve battery life by avoiding the unproductive running of background processes when they are not needed.

4. Crashes and Errors

A mobile app can lose its performance and become unreliable due to crashes and errors. Null Pointer Exceptions are one of the most common exceptions that occur when an object reference is null, causing unexpected crashes.

On the other hand, Array Index out-of-bounds errors happen when manipulating an array element with an invalid index which crashes the application. Memory leaks aggravate the problem more.

Also, compatibility issues can occur if the app features or functions are not adequately supported or behave differently depending on devices and operating system versions, leading to unexpected crashes and errors.

Solutions

  • Apply defensive coding and try-catch: Provide defensive coding practices to handle the occurrence of null pointer exceptions and array index out-of-bounds errors. Use try-catch blocks to elegantly manage exceptions and avoid crashing the app.
  • Do unit testing at each stage of module development: Complete unit testing in each stage of module development to discover and fix associated bugs and errors early. This, in turn, helps guarantee the stability and reliability of the app.
  • Use an inbuilt crash log system: Develop a crash log system in the application that works internally to automatically capture and log crash reports. Thanks to that, coders can easily determine what caused crashes and bugs, further resulting in prompt repair and correction.

How to Measure Mobile App Performance?

Mobile app performance measurement is essential for providing a superior user experience, detecting areas in need of improvement, and guaranteeing the app’s success.

Setting Goals

Set the mobile app performance goals very clearly by identifying KPIs associated with the objectives and target audience.

Implement Performance Monitoring Tools

Make use of the tools and platforms specifically designed for performance monitoring and analytics to track and analyze the app performance metrics. These commonly used tools include Firebase Performance Monitoring, Google Analytics for Mobile Apps, AppDynamics, New Relic Mobile, and Dynatrace.

Integrate Real User Monitoring (RUM).

Use real user monitoring to take performance data from actual users of your app in real time. With RUM, you gain information about the ways your app customers are using the app under different conditions and on different devices regardless of the network environment.

Conduct Performance Testing

Carry out explicit performance testing all over the development periods to detect and fix performance obstacles and problems. 

  • Load testing
  • Stress testing
  • Endurance testing
  • Scalability testing
  • Monitor backend performance

Evaluate the backends and APIs that your mobile app depends on. Track server response times, database queries, and other backend processes that affect the app performance.

Collect User Feedback

Get app users’ reactions to the performance problems they face. Leverage app store reviews, user surveys, and in-app feedback channels to identify the main pain points and improvement areas.

Choosing the Correct Analytics Methods

You can pick the most basic option, for example, by implementing an SDK for KPI tracking. Websites like https://www.appsflyer.com/ provide SDKs aimed at measuring app performance. Also, if you are more of a low-cost solutions enthusiast, Firebase offers free analytics tools for app performance tracking. Click here to get some more performance monitoring tools.

Continuous Improvement

Analyze the performance metrics and user feedback consistently to find out the patterns and trends. Implement optimizations and tuning to handle performance problems and improve user experience.

How to Speed Up App Loading Time?

To improve the loading time for the first-time users of your app, you could utilize such methods.

Minimizing the Initial Data Load

It is enough to load the data only once at the time of the first launch of the program. Additional data loading can be overseen by background processes. To make the main page load faster, utilize lazy loading for the photos. At app launching, add skeleton loading animations for a better user experience.

Optimally Designed Code

To improve app performance, make use of data handling techniques and algorithms which has been fine-tuned. Several datasets can be imported simultaneously using asynchronous operations. One of the ways to reduce overhead is to delete unused code segments and libraries from time to time.

Sophisticated Caching

Aim for a faster loading process by localizing data that is frequently needed with the help of techniques such as IndexedDB or Local Storage. Employing third-party libraries like Picasso is an effective approach to managing multimedia and image caching.

Splash Screens

Utilize internal storage for faster splash screen loading. To not compromise on the visual quality, while keeping the loading speed fast, find the balance between the file size and image quality, and optimize the splash screen images.

Gather Resources in Advance

While the user is occupied by the opening screen, meanwhile, preload necessary elements in the background, such as scripts, pictures, and stylesheets. It brings faster transactions as it means that the necessary assets are present when they are required.

Decrease the Dependency on the Third Parties

Try to reduce the use of third-party libraries and dependencies because they will make the pages take more time to load. Evaluate each dependency’s needs and seek appropriate cheaper alternatives wherever possible.

Optimizing Mobile App Design for Better Performance

Streamlining mobile app performance through the design is essential to deliver a smooth user experience and at the same time utilize resources efficiently and provide quick response. 

Streamlined User Interface (UI)

Simplify the interface design by eliminating visual clutter and concentrating on the key things. Avoid too many animations, complex transitions, and superfluous graphics which are the main reasons to slow down rendering and increase the time for loading.

Through UI simplification, you decrease the app’s memory footprint and improve system performance hence.

Optimized Image Assets

Reduce the file size of the image assets by compression and optimizing their quality. Use modern image formats like WebP or SVG, which are compressed at superior levels as compared to traditional formats such as JPEG or PNG.

With image optimization, you reduce app download size and enhance its loading speed.

Efficient Layouts and Components

Opt for lightweight components and libraries that achieve efficient user interfaces. You should use native UI components, if possible, as they are optimized and offer better response time than custom components.

On top of that, display RecyclerViews or ListViews with view recycling techniques to manage memory usage and efficient scrolling on lists and grids.

Lazy Loading and Progressive Loading

Build lazy loading connections to load content, e.g. images or data, only when it is necessary. This, in return, excludes the useless data fetching and decreases the initial load time.

Just as well, take progressive loading strategies such as lading critical content first and then loading secondary content to improve its perceived performance.

Asynchronous Data Loading

Implement asynchronous data fetching and processing operations to avoid clogging the main UI thread. Use background threads, AsyncTask, or coroutines (in Kotlin) to run long-run tasks like network requests or database queries without freezing the interface.

Synchronous data loading improves the app performance and eliminates the possibility of UI freezes.

Minimized Network Requests

Reduce the number of network requests and maximize their size by merging the requests or using a data compression method such as GZIP.

Employ caching mechanisms to store the data that was previously fetched and reuse it instead of making networks call multiple times, leading to faster app performance mainly where there is low bandwidth or intermittent connectivity.

Optimized Animations and Transitions

Use animations and transitions lightly to add more beauty and meaning to the user experience without a performance compromise.

Another thing to keep in mind is using complex animations or libraries of animations that can increase CPU and memory usage. Have the hardware-accelerated animations and reduce the animation duration or complexity to have a faster performance.

Memory Management and Garbage Collection

Minimize memory usage by avoiding the creation of unnecessary objects as well as memory leaks.

Apply efficient memory management practices that involve releasing unused resources, and carefully managing the lifecycle of objects, and tools like Android Profiler and Memory Profiler can be used to find and resolve memory problems.

Moreover, it reduces garbage collection times by lowering the number of garbage collection cycles and preventing object retention.

Device Compatibility and Performance Testing

Make sure apps are compatible with devices of different types and operating system versions by conducting full-fledged compatibility testing.

Test app performance on different devices with different hardware specifications and find performance bottlenecks. Then, optimize resource-intensive features to align them with the hardware capabilities.

Continuous Monitoring and Optimization

Continuously monitor app performance metrics, for instance, CPU usage, memory consumption, and network latency, by using performance monitoring tools and analytics.

Find performance bottlenecks and optimization areas as a part of the regular performance audits and user feedback. Continuously improve app performance by implementing optimizations sequentially.

What Makes Apps Successful?

The mobile app success depends on several variables which as a whole are essential for the popularity, usage, and durability of such apps in the mobile app market that is extremely competitive. 

Value Proposition

Apps that succeed provide a clear and engrossing value proposition that targets a particular user’s demand or discomfort. If it is about fixing a problem, entertainment, or boosting productivity, the app’s value proposition is close to the target audience, which results in higher user engagement and retention.

User Experience (UX) Design

Intuitive and user-friendly design is crucial for app success. Effective user experience includes smooth navigation, fundamental interface layouts, and frictionless interactions.

Successful apps emphasize user-centric design principles that focus on usability and accessibility in the end to produce exceptional user experiences.

Performance and Reliability

High performance and reliability are obligatory attributes for apps to achieve success. Users now have pretty high expectations for app loading speed, response time, and consistency across various devices and network conditions.

High-quality apps focus on performance enhancement, controlling the issuance of crashes and errors, and giving users a smooth user experience to keep their satisfaction.

Engaging Content and Features

The provision of captivating content and features is one of the major keys to users’ engagement and retention. The apps that stand out provide the users with a variety of content in the form of news, entertainment, or customized materials as per the choice of the customers.

Besides, cutting-edge features and functions make users keep coming back to the app, thus creating long-term usage.

Effective Monetization Strategy

Sustainable monetization is an integral part of app success, regardless of whether it is about paid downloads, in-app purchases, subscriptions, or ads. Successful apps are monetized in ways that are agreed upon by the users and provide value in exchange for revenues.

The importance of blending monetization with user experience to gain user trust and revenue potential should not be underestimated.

Market Fit and Targeting Right Audience

The importance of understanding the market and catering to the specific user demographic or niche is of high relevance. Successful mobile apps conduct market research and try to understand the needs, likes, and dislikes of their customers to shape their products according to market demands.

It is possible to get market fit and organic growth by focusing on the right target audience and the right app solution.

Effective Marketing and Promotion

Effective apps invest in marketing and promotional efforts to boost visibility, bring in users, and generate app downloads.

Through various marketing channels like app store optimization (ASO), social media, partnerships with influencers, and paid ads, apps can find their target audience and gain momentum around their offerings.

Community and User Engagement

Creating a community that is active and thriving around the app facilitates engagement, dedication, and recommendation. Successful apps create interaction and communication among users by employing social features, forums, or user-generated content and generate a feeling of togetherness and unity among the users.

Interacting with users; seeking and taking care of their feedback; and solving their problems builds trust and loyalty, which brings success to the app.

Continuous Iteration and Improvement

Highly successful apps feature a cycle of endless improvements and adjustments based on user say, market movements, and technological progress.

Through being nimble and reactive to changing user requirements and likes, apps can be in front of competitors, keep users engaged, and evolve with the fast-changing marketplace.

Data-driven Decision Making

Utilizing data analytics and user insights, apps can make intelligent moves in terms of feature development, user acquisition, and engagement strategies.

Fruitful apps collect and process key metrics, like user behavior, retention rates, and the conversion funnel, to improve performance, user experience, and growth rate.

Conclusion

I believe that the proposed solutions have provided you with great insights on how to improve mobile app performance.

Efficient code optimization, user interface simplification, proactive performance monitoring, and scheduled user feedback can greatly improve the responsiveness, speed, and reliability of the app.

These best practices not only lead to user retention, engagement, and success prevailing in a highly competitive environment but also increase the app’s success and users’ happiness.

Additional Resources

Mobile App Security and Privacy Standards in 2024

Starting as an iOS developer and moving up to lead a mobile team at a startup, I've expanded my expertise into Project Management, DevOps and eventually becoming a COO in the IT sector. As a COO, I excel in team leadership, technical advice, and managing complex business functions, focusing on combining technology and operations to drive growth. I'm keen to connect for collaborations or to exchange insights in the tech world!

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