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Tips to Optimize Your Responsive Design for Mobile Users

  •  6-23-2014
2014-5-mobile-devices-responsive

With mobile use on the rise, search engines emphasize on the importance of having an optimized mobile site. Responsive design has taken off as a de facto part of website design. It’s not adequate to have just a responsive design. You also need a responsive design that’s properly optimized for mobile device users. (tweet this)

Fast Servers

One obvious aspect of fast response times is the servers used to render the content. The Internet has hundreds of hosts to choose from, but choose a slow host and your site’s performance drops. The server should respond in fewer than 200 milliseconds. You can also choose a server that’s more local to your audience or choose a host that uses data centers and cloud computing.

Reduce Redirects and Use Canonical Links

At the start of the mobile revolution, web designers read the user agent string from the browser and redirected users to a mobile version. Too many redirects slow the response time, and it’s not good for mobile sites. Responsive design leverages CSS to size elements on the screen, which is a faster option.

With each redirect, the browser must query the server, read the server response and redirect to the next server in the redirect sequence. This is fine for fast broadband, but for mobile websites, it’s inefficient.

The canonical link tag is also useful when you need to tell mobile search engines to attribute a desktop page with a mobile website page. You first specify the corresponding mobile page on the desktop page code, and then use the canonical tag in the mobile site’s code to point to the desktop page. This feature stops search engines from seeing your mobile content as a duplicate of your desktop content.

Use Asynchronous JavaScript and CSS Connections

Asynchronous connections allow a browser to continue downloading page content while the JS and CSS files download. If you block asynchronous connections, the browser must first download all of the JS and CSS code before it can continue downloading the rest of the site. This slows page rendering in the browser. Some web designers opt for inline CSS and JS for mobile site designs to avoid the issue.

Optimize Your JavaScript and CSS Code  

Most coders don’t think about app speed, because desktops are fast enough to handle inefficient code. However, mobile devices don’t have the power of a desktop, so code optimization is important.

To accomplish faster coding speed, keep JS to a minimum and test it with each mobile device you plan to support. It sometimes takes a more seasoned JS coder to figure out ways to make JS run faster, but the end-result is faster-loading pages for your users.

Conclusion

Most coders hate the optimization part of the job, but it’s important to keep responsive designs fast and efficient for smaller screens and less powerful devices. User experience is important to keep customers coming back to your website. It’s also important in search engine ranking and indexing. Use these tips to get started with your responsive design work, and always tests your code before releasing it to the public.

Photo by Irita Kirsbluma

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