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Speed Up Loading Time on Mobile Devices


According to a recent survey by Keynote, titled “2012 Mobile User Survey,” 80 percent of people surfing on their mobile phones expect websites to load faster and that they would use mobile more if it did. Much to their disappointment, not all websites can load 4 seconds or less, as they expect, because the loading time usually takes 9 seconds.




Before we get on to the tips, we first have to understand something about download speeds of mobile users. In the UK, most mobile users are using 3G with speeds of 2.1Mbps according to a study by Ofcom. Since 1 Mbps is equivalent to 122KB/s, 3G users get 244KB/s and multiplied by 4 (the number of seconds which they expect a website to completely load). This means that for 3G users, your website can only have a maximum of 1MB.



However, download speed isn’t the only thing you need to consider according to Smashing Magazine. You also have to consider the smartphone’s CPU, memory, and network latency.

Despite that sad reality, there are ways for you, as a developer or designer, to reduce your website’s loading time and help you reach the 4 second goal. Smashing Magazine has a few tips that can make your site faster on mobile devices.



1. Minimise Loading Time


A lot of decision making is needed in this step. You have to take out anything that isn’t important. Minimise loading time by reducing dependencies. The fewer the needed files to download, the fewer HTTP requests, thus faster loading time for your website.


Other tips you can try are:


·         Load images through CSS

·         Keep external style sheets to a minimum

·         CSS3 instead of images

·         Data URI instead of images or web font files

·         Inline scalable vector graphics instead of images

·         Image sprites

·         Font icons

·         Avoid inline frames

·         Code for mobile-first

·         Spilt content onto multiple pages (separate mobile websites)

·         Keep redirects to a minimum (separate mobile websites)



2. Reduce Image Size Dimensions


Save on processing power and memory to resize high-res images to reduce download time. Try using responsive images that only lets the user download photos he or she will need.  For smartphones, low-res images should be enough.



3. Reduce Client-Side Processing


Keep the use of JavaScript at a minimum. JavaScript can significantly increase the loading time of a website because of the smaller CPU, memory, and cache size a smartphone has. Rule of the thumb, always rethink the use of JavaScript and keep it to a minimum. It would also be a good idea to refrain from using widgets because it can definitely increase loading time.



4. Practice Serve-Side Techniques


Apart from optimising the site, you might also want to consider these server-side practices:

·         Reduce bytes by using HTTP compression

·         Cache HTTP redirects to hasten repeat visits

·         Reduce the number of redirects by merging HTTP redirect chains



5. Test, Test, Test


Since there is only one way to find out if your changes worked, test the website using free performance-testing tools such as Mobitest and Network Panel.


Meet the high expectations of your clients by optimising your website for mobile users. Using these techniques and tips should be able to help you achieve the magical 4 seconds in no time. Get your website mobile ready. Get a free quote today.


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