How To Speed Up Responsive Websites?

Aug 28, 2014

Responsive web design is very popular and is very ideal for the multi-screen connected world that we live in.

Websites built using responsive design techniques such as fluid grids, flexible images and media queries are adaptive, interactive and provide a rich user experience.But many of the elements that make responsive websites beautiful and adaptive to screens of all shapes and sizes also makes them slow to download to mobile devices.
While at the moment there are performance issues, these can be overcome to some extent with some small adjustments, compression and image resizing.

Why responsive design can perform slowly?
Responsive design loads all of the same HTML elements for every device, including those made for tablet and desktop delivery. This means that all the content is often delivered, including images and scripts no matter what device its being viewed on.

Responsive design is pushing up page sizes and this is the trend that needs to be addressed, especially when you consider that more than 50% mobile users will leave the site if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds.

How can performance be improved?
When planning out a design, optimization will be simpler to carry out and performance should always be considered an essential part of design, rather an afterthought.

In order to improve performance, the size of the pages and resources loaded with it needs to be reduced. This can be done by using various techniques without altering the look and feel of the site.

The first and the main thing to consider is how to ensure that only resources which are needed are sent to the target device. This can be achieved by minimizing the number of HTTP requests, so that the user spends less time waiting for the DOM to load and this can be done by compressing CSS and Javascript resources.

Conditional Loading
This is considered an important technique when it comes to responsive design. Conditional loading can be used to stop all kinds of content from loading, including social widgets, images, maps, etc. It is important to note at this point that the site should be thoroughly tested at each stage of optimization so that its easy to see what has made a difference as you go along.

We all agree that images are usually responsible for taking up the largest amount of space in a web page.
If a site has a lot of content then it is going to affect performance even more and some way to prevent this content from loading needs to be implemented. This can be done by altering the markup by changing the src or img elements.

The above tips will go long way to help you improve the performance of your responsive website. But ultimately the only way to ensure that your responsive website performs optimally on a mobile device is to think of speed as a feature in the design and build process.

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