mobile app design

How to Design Mobile App That Does Well in Poor Network Conditions

Building a lite version of the app is one of the ways to check the low connectivity.

Design Mobile App

Building an app comes with a lot of challenges. For starters, you need a revolutionary idea, one that will appeal to the public and make them to download the app. Then comes all the work that you put into developing the app.

Making sure every feature does what it’s supposed to do, finding a good graphic designer to breathe life into coding, and to integrate the right amount of content into the app are some of the few aspects that are crucial for the app development process.

Many apps can win users over with a multitude of features and eye-catching visuals. Still, there is also another thing all developers need to keep in mind – the app has to be fully functional, even in poor internet connectivity.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to ensure the app functioning even when the signal is down to two bars. 

Factors to Consider to Develop Apps for Low Connectivity

The following are the crucial determinants that can help developers build apps that can survive the low connectivity areas:

1. Design Content That Doesn’t Require Online Connection

Most of the apps nowadays are dependent on a good internet connection, but what do you do in those moments when the network is down? Do you just show a blank page and hope for the users to figure things out on their own? That may be more of a dealbreaker than you think.

Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks use cache to load part of the newsfeed, even when the app is not connected to the internet. They do, of course, display a message telling the user that the internet is down, but by loading cached content, they ensure the user is not going to be closing the app right away.

The mobile app design should be weaved, keeping in mind pages that work well without the need for an internet connection. Whether it’s just a few pages of content, a small game, or their cached feed, providing at least some offline support for apps is mandatory. Such pages should be accompanied by a message that alerts the user about the low or nonexistent network connection.

2. Make Bandwidth Optimization Your Priority

While app designing, there are a few things you need to keep into consideration, to provide a good user experience. Amongst them, bandwidth optimization should certainly be at the top. There is no point in having an app full of features and rich in content if the user needs to wait entire minutes for it to load.

Make sure the content of the app, be it text, images, or animations, is fully optimized, and only then, neither application design nor loading speed is affected. 

Another thing you need to take into consideration for mobile app design is the hierarchy. You need to make sure the user can get to the page they are looking for without going through a lot of steps. This way, you avoid the need to load multiple pages to reach the desired one. To do so, allow yourself more time to think and plan. 

3. Consider Designing a Lighter Version of the App

If you use Facebook, you are probably aware of their Lite versions of both the Messenger and Facebook apps. Lite actually means light, which is a version of the app that is more minimalistic, or uses lower graphics, to improve speed in areas with a poor internet connection.

Designing a lighter version of the app is almost mandatory, but if you really want to win users over, you should set up the app so that it switches to the lighter version when it detects poor connectivity. This way, the user does not have to switch apps, or re-login when they encounter the “poor network connection” message. 

Speaking of which, always make sure your app clearly displays a message that alerts the user about troubles with the internet connection. Otherwise, they may just believe it’s your app that does not function well.

4. Optimize Graphics Content as Well

Many times, the reason an app load slow is the unoptimization of the graphic content. To make your app look good, high-resolution images are essential, but if they are not optimized, they will only slow down the app and provide a poor user experience. Luckily, there are several tools you can use to compress images and help them load faster.

There seems to be quite a trend of using images instead of text, as they are more visually appealing. Still, images often load much slower and provide poor user experience, especially in slow connections. Try to keep at least the vital part of the information in text, so that users can see it even when the connectivity is slow.

A technique that some developers have claimed is lifesaving is called image slicing, and it means splitting the image into multiple smaller parts so that they can load independently. This way, the user won’t have to wait for the entire image to load before they can see at least part of the content.

Another piece of advice is to switch to JPEG files, as they do load faster in low bandwidth than PNG or GIF files do. To ensure proper optimization, do your research and choose an image format that works best with your type of app.

Bottom Line

When designing an app, making sure it looks the best way possible is paramount and it will attract and keep users on your side. But there is no point in designing a content based app if the users can’t enjoy it.

Designing applications with poor network connectivity in mind will not only help those who sporadically deal with low bandwidth but also win over the users who live in areas where the Internet connection is not as fast as in other parts of the world.

For any mobile app development and application designs query, please comment below and our experts will get back to you ASAP.

General FAQ

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Ayush <span> Creative Head </span>
Written By
Ayush Creative Head

With a strong knowledge of the latest UI/UX design trends, Ayush, the creative head of MobileAppDaily, is curating enticing designs from the past five years. His work helped in achieving the desired user experience for many top brands. Right now, he’s at the helm of designing team and is leaving no stone unturned to devise futuristic designs.

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