Agencies and website owners can be slow to adapt to changes in technology, often because the latest fad can fall out of favour as fast as it emerges. We have a tendency to rely on more tried-and-tested solutions, which aren’t always the fastest and therefore don’t always deliver the best user experience (opens in new tab). So if you've ended up in a rut with your web design processes, here are some top web design tools (opens in new tab) and techniques that could help you speed up your sites and apps, and improve UX.
A word of caution: this will improve speed but (unless you're willing to add a lot of customisation and server work) isn't that SEO-friendly. So keep it to web apps rather than websites.
02. Try progressive web apps
Progressive web apps (PWAs (opens in new tab)) adapt websites or web apps to make them functional offline when added to mobile home screens. They typically use web browser features to store data offline – perfect for patchy internet connections. If you want users to return to your application often, consider a PWA. You can prompt mobile users to add these sites to their home screens for quick access and immediate loading.
03. Explore AMP
A Google-led working group released AMP in February 2016 to load pages submitted in the correct format instantly from Google’s global network. The technology, like Facebook’s Instant Articles, requires businesses to maintain additional codebases and gives access to fewer design features but offers better search engine visibility and usability. It’s particularly good for media producers with topical content.
04. Consider a CDN
Content delivery networks (CDNs) aren’t new, but plenty of websites still don’t use them. CDNs let you move the job of delivering a website and its assets from the server itself to a global distribution network, which is faster. CDNs enable sites to run much quicker, as the user isn’t waiting for the end server to do all the work. They’re especially helpful for sites built for design over functionality.
05. Add a caching plugin
Caching plugins are offered with many CMSs, but are often ignored. WordPress, for example, offers many. Within the software, your server will store snapshots of pages rather than compiling a new page for every request. This means end users get the same speed impact as if you were serving them a static website. Businesses can couple caching with CDNs to improve site speed significantly.