The negative impact of underperforming web applications is quite significant on any business. Not only do users leave due to poor experience, but it also affects your conversions and the overall return on investment.
We live in a world where the advancement of a web browser increases with every update. Now that they offer support for ample new technologies, businesses should play their part in providing the richest experience to users through their web applications. This can only happen with proper performance optimization of web apps.
After analysing the current state of a web app, set performance goals and strategize optimization accordingly. On that note, let’s take a look at the 9 best practices to optimize your web application’s performance.
- Spotting the Bottlenecks
You can’t fix something if you don’t know what the problem is. Therefore, before trying to optimize the performance of a web application, the first step is to spot the bottlenecks and identify problems that are negatively affecting its performance.
For instance, there are plenty of tools available to test a website or a web app for responsiveness. Speaking of which, LT Browser is one such tool that allows you to check for responsiveness over a wide variety of viewports and devices. It has more than 50 preinstalled viewports you can perform live testing on.
The best part is that you can even add a custom device if you don’t find the one you’re looking for. Alternatively, you can search for the specific device through the sidebar. It allows users to capture screenshots and highlight bugs for easy rectification. All you need to do is share them with your team and further simplify collaboration. For the sake of record-keeping, you can also record the entire video of the test session.
- Optimizing Images
Large images might seem like the best complementary addition to text, but they can bring down your web application’s performance. Fortunately, this issue is easy to solve. All you need to do is to compress the images and save multiple sizes while uploading. This way, on the basis of the page context and device, the appropriate images can be displayed.
For instance, if you’re web page features plenty of small icons, you can switch to the appropriate icon font. Images can greatly benefit from lazy loading as well. In other words, the images keep loading as users scroll down.
Another example is to use JPEG instead of PNG. Even though the output might be a little less detailed, it’s going to be enough for a basic understanding. Despite PNG format and delivering higher quality, it’s not worth it to compromise your web application performance over it. For icons and logos, using vectors ensures flawless rendering in various resolutions. At the same time, they remain lightweight. Speaking of which, looped videos are better than GIFs.
- Compressing Components With Gzip
- Reducing Latency With a Content Delivery Network and Caching
One of the best ways to improve bandwidth, and speed asset delivery is to employ a CDN. This is because most website files are static or not subject to a lot of change. This approach also helps in reducing access latency. A CDN features various network nodes that store data copies and are placed apart from one another. They work together for fulfilling content requests from end-users as they come.
- Code Splitting
Instead of having a large bundle of code, split it into tiny chunks. This facilitates dynamic loading on the basis of the page visited. Since only specific chunks load at a time, this increases the page load speed. All in all, this method helps in optimizing the performance of the entire web application.
- Leveraging Key Metrics
To enhance the targeting of your web application optimization efforts, you can use various key metrics. They also help in locating sources where utilization is high. Indexing these metrics on remote calls, queries, and cashing operations can help locate tables, services, and operations that create system bottlenecks.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is targeting your web application optimization efforts without any direction. But once you have a clear idea of problematic areas, you can customize your optimization strategy and efforts accordingly.
- Updating Web Servers and Reducing HTTP requests
Optimization on the server side has a huge role to play in the overall web application optimization. Its performance largely depends on the time server takes to complete the requests. If there is a lag in web server updates, the entire performance suffers.
Moreover, the more the number of requests by a webpage, the slower its loading speed is going to be. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that there is absolutely no generation of unused and unnecessary HTTP requests. Some methods for reducing these requests include using fewer assets and plugins, avoiding third-party frameworks, and reducing code.
- Bundling Your Files and Using Logs for Monitoring Performance
As it’s clear from the name, bundling combines your files, thus, reducing their number. After this, you should consider using logs for monitoring the performance of your web applications. Since it records events according to their occurrence, detecting and responding to issues before they negatively impact web application performance becomes easier.
Testing Your Web Applications
Building a web app is one pat, the other part is testing it thoroughly and make sure that no matter what device a user access it on, he/she gets a seamless experience. Now based upon my personal usage I would love to recommend a free tool by LambdaTest called the LT Browser.
LT Browser helps user for responsive test of web apps on 50+ built-in device view-ports. The best part is that you can even debug the website on the fly, share bugs that you may find with the team instantly utilizing 100+ integrations that LT Browser has to offer. There is a lot more cool features that comes in handy while testing a web app. I would highly recommend users to try this amazing tool.
With everything readily available, no one wants to wait. That’s the world we live in and the same principle applies to web application performance. Try to put yourself in the visitor’s shoes and it’s a sure thing you wouldn’t stick around trying to navigate through a web app with performance issues.
Web application performance is an important factor in creating an indelible first impression on users. It’s the online equivalent of the first step towards building a good relationship whether it’s personal or professional. Therefore, stepping up to make efficient application performance optimization efforts is no longer optional.
The best practices mentioned above are some of the key tasks you should undertake to optimize your web application’s performance. At the same time, you should also remember that it’s an ongoing process. As you keep rolling out new functionalities and features, you have to keep implementing the above best practices and add a few more to the checklist.