Optimizing Performance for Native Mobile Applications

Optimizing Performance for Native Mobile Applications
Optimizing Performance for Native Mobile Applications

Native apps depend on these same factors, as well as an additional set of factors including signal strength, battery level, and device memory. Even if a native mobile app is built with excellent code, there are a host of other external factors that can impact performance. Regardless of the type of app, there needs to be an end-to-end view of performance from the end-user perspective so that companies can quickly see, understand, and address the source of performance problems—whether it's a code issue or something else.

Take end-user performance information to the next level. As with mobile Web apps there are free tools available to help monitor real end-user native mobile app experiences. But going beyond end-user performance monitoring, these tools reveal valuable performance trend information and patterns over time, such as which version of an app performs best and which device profiles and geographic regions are the strongest and weakest adopters of an app. This type of information can be used to prioritize testing across various devices and browser versions, as well as guide smarter business decisions.

For example, companies can note if the latest version of their app represents a significant performance upgrade, or if it's zapping battery and memory too quickly to result in any performance advantages. By having this information, companies can then adjust their marketing strategies accordingly—for example, to prioritize marketing one version of an app over another. As another example, a company may notice application usage trends in particular regions and countries. This information can help you understand where you may need to prioritize your application marketing and visibility efforts.

Even though a company may offer a native app, recognize that people might not use it. It can be wrong to assume people are going to download a native app just because one is available. Consumers routinely use both forms of mobile native apps and mobile Web apps, and if they're rushed, they might go straight for the mobile site versus taking the time to download a native app. Delivering a superior mobile experience all around presents a tremendous business opportunity. To succeed in today's mobile world and comprehensively reach engaged end-users at or near the point-of-sale, companies can't “put all their eggs in one basket,” so to speak. Instead, they need to focus on performance excellence in both areas.

On a related note, many organizations deploy “fall back” strategies for native mobile apps, including switching to Web views when a problem is detected that may take some time to fix, like a coding issue. For obvious reasons, the mobile end-user interaction should be as consistent and high-quality as possible when toggling across touchpoints.

To sum it up: Where native mobile apps are concerned, companies face tremendous performance pressures. The challenge of managing and maintaining performance across multiple app versions and devices can be quite daunting. Fortunately, by leveraging performance management techniques carried over from the realm of desktop and mobile Web apps, companies can more effectively ensure highly satisfying user experiences with native mobile apps.

Overall, this enables companies to spend less time troubleshooting, get more positive reviews, and focus time and attention where it matters—on developing new features for the app and growing the user base.

Klaus Enzenhofer is a technology strategist for the Compuware APM Business Unit.

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