Thoughts on Web Optimizations for Mobile Viewing

- 2 mins

Last week I was fortunate enough to find myself in Europe. As I was preparing to leave, I called my wireless provider to enable international data, because let’s be honest it’s hard to let go of your smart phone ;) Also since we also planned on renting a car to travel around France, rather than pay extra for a GPS, we were to use Google Maps. So in order to keep my phone bill somewhat low, Verizon Wireless offers a super amazing international data plan for $25 that gets you a whopping 100mb of data! I had the expectation of needing at least 3 times that amount, but luckily those fears turned out to be unwarranted.

It turned out to be this way because the majority of the sites I visited, along with Google Maps have been optimized for mobile viewing. Some of the more basic optimizations that you can make on your site are listed below.

There a few options available on the interwebz that will help optimize your website with very little effort. If you are using a shared hosting plan with a blogging platform such as Wordpress, there are countless plugins, such as W3TC. If you have more control of your server you can use Google PageSpeed it’s a module that you load into Apache or Nginx. Last but not least there is also Cloudflare, with a simple DNS change you can have a more optimized site plus a CDN!

To help measure how well your website is actually optimized there are a couple of tools you can use, such as Google PageSpeed and Yahoo’s YSlow. Currently my website is only scoring an 85/100 from both of these, so it appears I have some work to do.

But back to the trip, although this is not very scientific, I was measuring my data usage by going to Settings -> General -> Usage -> Cellular Usage. I was shocked at how little data the Google Map’s application actually used.

In hindsight it would have been interesting to use an app such as this one to help track my data usage in more detail.

One of my main observation from this experience is your site should not only be optimized for mobile devices but for every single device using your platform.

No matter how powerful the device or what kind of Internet connection you have, these optimizations help you decrease the amount of bandwidth used on both sides of the fence. They also benefit the user experience by having the page load faster, use less battery, etc. In a world where data caps are becoming increasingly common, lets do everything in our power to optimize where we can.

Drew


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