Application performance is critical for delivering a fast and responsive user experience. Slow performance, or high latency, can lead to frustrated users and lost revenue for the organization.
From a high level, application latency refers to the delay between the user's request and the application's response. Latency can not only impact the overall user experience and decrease engagement, but it can be a costly and complicated problem as well. App performance also impacts overall efficiency. Slow applications can slow down business processes, leading to decreased productivity and increased costs. All of these factors can reduce a company’s ability to compete in the market. In today’s world, customers expect fast and responsive applications. Businesses that are unable to deliver on this expectation risk losing customers to competitors who offer a better user experience.
By implementing strategies and technologies that enable fast response times, organizations can streamline processes, improve productivity, and reduce spend.
What causes application latency or performance issues?
Often we take advantage of just how much is happening behind the scenes to deliver lightning fast responses, but we do notice immediately when there is a lag of more than just a few milliseconds. So what's causing this latency? Slow app performance can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Network issues: Slow network connectivity or high latency can cause app latency. This is particularly true for mobile apps, which often rely on cellular data connections that can be slower and less reliable than Wi-Fi connections.
- Server issues: If an app relies on a server or cloud-based infrastructure, slow server response times or server downtime can cause app latency.
- Inefficient code: Inefficient code can lead to slow app performance. This can be caused by factors such as poor algorithms, excessive use of CPU or memory resources, or inefficient use of network resources.
- Too much data: If an app is processing or transmitting too much data, it can cause latency. This can be caused by factors such as large files, excessive requests, or inefficient data processing.
- Device issues: Older or less powerful devices may struggle to run some apps, leading to app latency.
- External factors: External factors such as interference or environmental factors can also contribute to app latency. For example, if an app relies on GPS data, poor GPS signal or interference can cause latency.
In his article on Geo Distributed Databases, Jacob Cohen talks about some of the latency-sensitive applications where high latency quickly leads to poor user experience. Examples include Gaming, IoT, Robotics, and Autonomous Vehicles. Other examples of companies that clearly need to prioritize fast performance to keep users happy are apps like Netflix, Google, Uber, and Instagram.
Here are 8 ways to reduce application latency:
As with any solution, the specific techniques and strategies that will work best will depend on the specific needs and requirements of your application or organization. Below are some of the most common ways to improve your app's performance and keep your users happy:
- Use a distributed database or caching system to store and retrieve data more efficiently.
- Optimize the network infrastructure to improve data transfer speeds and reduce bottlenecks.
- Use a content delivery network (CDN) to distribute static and dynamic content to users more quickly.
- Implement data compression techniques to reduce the amount of data that needs to be transferred.
- Use load balancing and other techniques to distribute workloads across multiple servers and reduce the amount of time that each request takes to complete.
- Optimize the application code to improve the efficiency and performance of the application.
- Use in-memory databases and other types of high-speed storage to improve data access times.
- Monitor and analyze application performance metrics to identify and address bottlenecks and other performance issues.
Here at HarperDB, we talk a lot about latency, as it's one of the major challenges that we solve for organizations across the globe. It’s easy to see that application performance is important for user experience, business efficiency, customer satisfaction, and competitiveness. It’s highly beneficial to take the time to address the root cause of the problem as soon as possible, because by prioritizing fast application performance, organizations can improve their bottom line and build a strong brand image.