by Andy Brattle on 07/22/14 at 10:00 am
When users are on the go, the best mobile app experience is a fast one. Although a mobile device’s connection speed is out of your control, you can still make it seem like your app loads lightning fast. Here are a few tricks to give users the impression that your app always loads fast even under a slow connection.
Instant & Steady Progress Bars
Progress bars tell users how long an action is taking, but they’re not always correct. You can disguise small delays in your progress bar by moving it instant and steady. The progress bar should never stop, otherwise users will think the app froze. Moving the progress bar fast in the beginning and slowing it down as it ends gives users optimistic expectations. Messaging apps are a good example of this. When a user sends a message, the blue progress bar moves instantly, but slows down as it finishes.
Another speed trick you can use are background operations. This works by giving users other things to focus on as a process is going on in the background. A good example of this is uploading pictures on Instagram. As soon as the user chooses a picture to share, it starts uploading. The app invites the user to add tags, title and description as the picture uploads in the background. When they’re ready to press the share button, they’re unaware of the upload time and can share their picture instantly.
If the user’s connection is slow, It can take a while for an app to populate content on the screen. Making the user stare at a loading bar or spinning wheel can increase bounce rates. To keep users engaged, use dummy content as text and image placeholders. For example, the Facebook mobile app shows users gray blocks and lines to represent images and text as the app loads. Once it finishes loading, the images and text appear in place of the dummy content. This is no faster than having a loading screen, but in the user’s mind it feels like it is.
How fast your app loads is in the mind of the user. When connection speeds are slow, you can still give users a fast mobile app experience by using these tricks. Users don’t want to wait for content. But if you make it seem like they’re never waiting, they’ll always enjoy your app under any connection speed.