Visitor Monitoring Is JavaScript Perking Up Your Mobile Site or Giving It That 2:30 Feeling? | Keynote
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Is JavaScript Perking Up Your Mobile Site or Giving It That 2:30 Feeling?

By Aaron Rudger | August 10, 2012

CATEGORIES: Mobile Quality

Caffeine LoadingJavaScript can help you create a gorgeous mobile site, but it can also make your load times sluggish. Like a good cup of Joe, sometimes you can't do without JavaScript. The secret is moderation and timing.

JavaScript can not only make your mobile site attractive, but also comes with useful applications and tools. Mobile sites opting for JavasSript as opposed to HTML may be banking that their customers will appreciate a rich app-like experience, even if the load times take a little longer. But what's at risk is a bad user experience that can frustrate a mobile user and increase that chance that they won't come back.

The fully loaded, rich landing page might catch the user’s eye, but how long will the eye wait for that page to load? The recent Keynote Mobile User Survey says that smartphone users expect a website load time of less than four seconds. Slow page downloads were found to be their biggest pain point. Simple and fast is usuallly the rule of thumb to please and retain more of your site visitors.

Recently we saw a good example with LinkedIn. Keynote Systems’ May 2012 Mobile News & Portal Index showed that LinkedIn’s site dropped in performance after the company added a JavaScript to their mobile site in trying to create the same experience as an app user.

This example highlights the fact that more can be less when it comes to performance. While LinkedIn’s mobile site looks great, Keynote reports that the JavaScript noticeably slowed the homepage down. Until your site is meeting user's performance expecations, add content with caution.

However, there are ways to speed up the site while sticking with JavaScript, including plugins and removing white spaces. Another option is to delay the download of various JavaScript elements until later in the download.

Twitter is a good example of this tactic. Twitter has increased the loading speed by simplifying the layout. The mobile site improved by more than four seconds and reduced the page element size by 58 kb. The homepage loads a single image with the login buttons, speeding up the mobile site performance.

Remember, the more time it takes for a page to load, the faster you lose the attention from the user. JavaScript may increase the likelihood that you can regain that interest, but be sure to follow best practices when you do. When it comes to mobile, everything is usually better in moderation.

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