As we live in the multi-screen world, responsive web design is the buzz word of the decade. Websites built with responsive design techniques such as media queries, fluid grids, and flexible images are interactive, adaptive and provide a rich user experience. It is one of the most dominating forums for over a period of time. No matter how important they are, the performance issue with responsive sites stands out prominently. But with adjustments, the web designers are trying their best to come up with measures that can efficiently solve the problem.
Why does responsive design perform slowly?
As the responsive site loads nearly all the HTML elements that are being loaded on a desktop or tablet, their performance is relatively slow. Moreover, the content including the scripts and the images are delivered all at a once in the devices where the website is viewed. This is one of the reasons for slower performance.
However, the problem lies when 86% of the responsive sites deliver a page intended to use on a desktop to mobile devices. And 56% of the mobile users usually move out if the site does not appear in 3 seconds.
So how can you speed up the responsive site and its performance to prevent the visitors click on the “X” in the corner because it performed slowly on their Smartphone or tablets? Well, that is a serious matter to look into and being responsive isn’t enough. Here where the web designers have come up with a few effective approaches to boost the speed of responsive websites and enhance the user experience.
As interactive design of the mobile has been an integral part over the last few years, therefore, responsive frameworks such as Twitter Bootstrap and Foundation have been made to work with to improve the speed of the process. It has been introduced with an aim to provide a grid or foundation for rapid prototyping of different mobile functionality and layouts, allowing designers to invest their effort and time on the details of brand experience.
Restrictive loading is an important technique for every Smartphone and mobile users. They ensure that the users do not download anything that is responsible for slowing up the site. The feature can be used to stop loading aspects such as image maps, social widgets and much more to add. Nevertheless, it is vital to test the site at each stage of its optimization to make it easy to see the difference it has made with the passage of time.
Resize the images as per the screen:
The fastest way to modify the mobile web performance is to make the images fit the screen size. The correct size of the images needs to be displayed to different mobile devices be it tablet or Smartphone. Images take up the largest amount of kilobytes in a web page and they can be compressed and modified with image format like WebP. This format can reduce the size of an image without compromising on the quality. The WebP file format can reduce 40% of the size of an image when compared to the existing formats such as JPEG and PNG.
- Read: The techniques and Guidelines behind Responsive images
- Fixing Responsive image problems with corrective solutions
Mobile phones have restricted capabilities as compared to desktop computers. So, to design mobile-friendly wireframes , first the design of the comps in the process is important as it tells you about how the content would look like on a mobile device, how the key features of the desktop site would actually work on a phone. Mobile-first is a designing process that aims to address this by limiting the initial planning only to check what’s possible on mobile and then add accordingly.
Reduce the content:
If the website contains a lot of content, it can affect the performance of the site. However, to decrease the amount of scripts, you can shift them to the end of the HTML templates to avoid unnecessary blocking. Although this is a minor change, however, they can display the primary content faster and therefore speed up the website while the other section of the page remains loading.
- Also read: What is Content delivery network and what are the benefits
- How to optimize CSS file for optimum performance
Serve the right Text:
Text will wrap up automatically when the device is narrow and cause display issue. A jQuery plugin called Fit Text can be used to address the issue as it allow the maximum and minimum size of the text and also auto-updates the font size. This tool is perfect for headlines that gets displayed poorly a mobile device and also allows CSS3 specified font sizes to be ignored. However, Fit Text cannot be used within paragraph text.
Do not allow m-dot redirection:
Google recommends that in order to receive an improved SEO mileage from responsive websites, a single domain should be used. Single URL in all the devices can help the publishers lessen the requirement of redirecting the high cost browser from the mobile site to desktop and vice versa.
Remove unnecessary DOM elements by using ReSS solution that provides the right template to the right device. Also Mobify’s free performance suite can be used to filter the DOM at any breakpoint that does not require any changes to be done on the web server.
Limit the HTTP requests:
Although the number of HTTP request is a conventional web performance technique, but with a responsive design with a rich media experience, the network overhead of every single HTTP requests is crucial. For mobile consider using CSS sprites instead of data URIs to minimize the requests of images. Keep the CSS file at the top of the document because modern browsers do not work until the CSS is downloaded.
Usage of mobile devices and tablets are on high as they are becoming the norm of connecting to the internet and surfing. So, if you really want to boost the speed of the responsive site, think speed as a feature in the design and build processes accordingly.