Anyone who’s ever built a website for a mobile browser knows that it’s not always easy to optimize your site/application for speed across multiple mobile platforms, and one of the toughest issues is being able to test these platforms with a different number of browsers so that you can make the necessary changes.
A lot of developers actually blow these concerns off, which is evident from a number of support forums and pages where people complain about slow loading times and poor performance in mobile WordPress themes, and other mobile CMS systems. The thing at the forefront of most developer’s minds is optimizing their mobile sites to display correctly, but the developer community seems to be relatively aloof when it comes to keeping performance in mind as well.
Think about it for a second: it’s great if you have a mobile site that displays properly and has a creative menu structure/color scheme, but it’s not so great if you have a site that takes forever to load. It’s no secret that website visitors have shorter attention spans than ever before, so if you own a website with a mobile theme, you don’t have all the time in the world to make an impression; in fact, you have a very short amount of time to make an impression!
So what can you do? How do you test your mobile sites? Well, there are a few different options that the marketplace has to offer, both free and paid. If you’re looking for the “be all end all” tester of mobile platforms in terms of speed, CSS, and everything else, you probably want a paid service. One of the best in that arena is BrowserStack. They offer a pretty intuitive interface, and testing options galore. However, not everyone needs a full service suite just to perform a quick test. An honorable mention goes out to Dotcom-Monitor’s website speed test tool that has options for emulating iOS devices from the iPhone, iPod and even the iPad. While they don’t have any Android options on their tool, it’s quick and free if you need to troubleshoot a small problem.
At the end of the day, testing your speed and performance on mobile platforms is something that you shouldn’t overlook, with over 50% of today’s web traffic being from mobile devices! One thing that people do often overlook is the reliability of their web hosting company and how fast their servers are. If you’re wondering “who is the fastest host?” you’re not alone. There are a lot of different companies that claim to have speedy web servers but it’s hard to know which one is the fastest. The thing is, a speedy web server has a huge impact on the over all speed of your mobile site too, so that’s something to consider. Lastly, it’s easy to make sure that your CSS is correct and leave it at that, but you really need to do more than that if you want to captivate users and make sure that they have a good experience on your site.