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Improving Mobile App Performance Through Monitoring

Juan Nino August 20, 2018

Mobile Monitoring & Alerting
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A mobile application’s performance will be most harshly judged by its users. So when monitoring your mobile app and optimizing its performance, you always need to be looking at it through a user’s lens. Monitoring and measuring the app’s performance from a user’s perspective will give you more context into user-facing issues, help prioritize QA, and allow you to better analyze a user’s end-to-end experience.

Your monitoring data should provide you with the information necessary to build a system for issue prioritization and response. Being able to identify key incidents faster will help you fix the most important problems first. Put your focus on pertinent performance issues, fixing user-facing errors, and measuring monitoring tools from a user’s perspective.

Measuring and Optimizing Mobile App Performance

Understanding the key performance metrics you’d like to track is step one for improving mobile app performance. Below, we’ve compiled some of the best mobile app metrics you’ll want to monitor in order to improve overall performance:

App Launch and Reopen Time

Starting the app is the first experience a user has with your mobile application. A good first impression is always important. But, you also want to measure the time it takes for an app to resume operations when it is reopened from the background. Monitoring app launch and reopen time will help you find any lag which could be giving users a poor experience. This is a great, straightforward way to see what users are seeing right off the bat.

Battery, Data, and Memory Usage

Users are very cognizant of three things: battery, memory, and data consumption. Your users don’t need metrics to tell them their phone is dying quickly or they’re running low on memory or data. Effectively monitoring consumption will show the amount of strain you’re putting on user’s smartphones and inform you of how people are actively using your app. Does your app need to natively store certain data? Does the app really need to check for updates every minute, 30 seconds, etc.? Constantly readdressing these issues will help you understand and make improvements to your app’s performance.

Not only should you be checking higher level usage metrics, but you should be monitoring more granularly based off of app version, OS, and features. For instance, you may find that third-party integrated services within your app are using more data than you’d like. These lower-level monitoring metrics can help you identify real user issues between different devices and situations.

Mobile UI Response Time

You can’t simply monitor network response times. Users don’t care when the network responds, users care when the response is acted upon. The user’s true experience can only be measured by the finalization of a complete action. By measuring the response and action completion time for different devices and operating systems, you can improve visibility and overall mobile performance.

Take action on issues that have the highest business impact first, then optimize speed and mobile performance from there. Monitoring mobile UI performance can help you prioritize areas for improvement and areas of focus for QA. Testing and monitoring the mobile UI is a direct way to see how users are interacting with and experiencing your mobile app.

Monitoring Crashes and Errors

There’s no worse experience for a user than when your app crashes. Monitoring your mobile app can help you understand how a crash occurred, the number of users affected, what interactions caused the crash, and exactly how a crash impacts the business. This data can be used by mobile product managers to prioritize future app releases and bug fixes that need to be pushed out.

Everything about mobile app performance monitoring boils down to how users are interacting with your app. If you understand these interactions, you can better understand where errors are taking place and why. Work on giving yourself visibility into how many people are affected by the error, what type of user action caused the error, the number of actions that resulted in an error, and the app version and/or OS that was affected by the error.

Finding how often these errors or crashes occur can show you whether there’s a one-off issue or if there’s a larger problem that needs to be addressed.

Creating a Culture of Reliability

Real, Usable Monitoring

Mobile app monitoring needs to create actionable measurements that can enact real change in your app’s performance. You’ll back into app performance improvements by simply focusing on your user, how they’re interacting with your app, and their overall experience.

In the age of instant gratification and the ability to do a large number of tasks from your phone, users expect a highly available, performant, and responsive mobile application. Monitoring user interactions and system usage can expose issues that you may not have noticed in QA. Through mobile app performance monitoring, you can take metrics and use them to improve the user experience within your mobile app.

Effective monitoring of your mobile app is just the first step. VictorOps integrates with mobile APM tools and centralizes issues to improve team-wide visibility and collaboration. Sign up for a 14-day free trial to see how you can start taking action on your mobile metrics.

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