No Silver Bullets for Mobile Performance [White Paper]

By UsableNet on Nov 12, 2014
Topics: Mobile Web


It used to be that a company's mobile website was just another way that customers were able to interact with them. Increasingly, the mobile website is the primary touchpoint for consumers. Brands must make sure they are putting their best foot forward when it comes to mobile performance. Site load time continues to be one of the crucibles for business on mobile: most consumers expecting a load time of less than 2 seconds. 

The bottom line is that brands must maximize usability and maximize speed. However, there’s just no silver bullet for top mobile performance. Responsive web design (RWD) results in a consistent experience across screens, but also in heavier downloads to mobile browsers, leading to slower load times. RWD also lacks customization options for different devices. Dedicated mobile sites can be powered by APIs, and their speed makes them great tools, but they require a high level of IT skill and maintenance. Adaptive Delivery seems to be coming close to bridging the gap between the two by leveraging server-side technology to deliver the correct information at the correct time, and nothing extra - taking the load off of the mobile browser and greatly increasing load times. 

Still, none of these solutions can serve as a panacea for all mobile performance issues. There are a myriad of factors to consider, including the actual content being displayed, the brand's past mobile strategy, and context of use. Going forward, the IT department and the marketing will have to work closer than ever for real success on mobile. Marketing knows who the customer is, the context in which they'll be using the mobile site, and the overall brand strategy. All this must be clearly communicated to the IT team, and together they must assess, with an open mind, what the optimal solution for their company will be. It is possible that an in-house solution may not exist, or that the best solution is a combination of the above methods. 

Solving the performance problem will necessarily be brand-specific . Each brand has its own needs, customers, strategies, and resources. With careful consideration and integration of all these, companies will be able to arrive at the optimal mobile performance solution. 

For more information on this topic, see our detailed white paper: Mobile Performance Whitepaper.



Founded in 2000, UsableNet created some of the first tools and platforms to make websites accessible and usable for all people. Starting out, we worked with government agencies as well as universities and corporations. Today, accessibility has become important to almost all companies. We provide accessibility solutions to Fortune 1000 companies, small and medium enterprises, government, and education organizations across industries including retail, travel, hospitality, food services, automotive, financial services, and healthcare.

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