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Archive for July, 2020

What is Load Testing? 4 Reasons You Need this Crucial Process

importance of load testing

Circus and street performer fans are no strangers to jugglers. They always start with a small number of ordinary objects before slowly advancing to tossing 10 flaming chainsaws over their head.

While tossing flaming chainsaws is impressive (and dangerous), they weren’t able to perform their routine at the same speed or ability as they were with a smaller number of chainsaws. There was also a higher chance they’d drop one or some other catastrophe might occur.

The juggler could stop their routine whenever they wanted, but your system or software doesn’t have that luxury. That’s where load testing comes in.

You need to be up and running at all times so you can’t face a crucial failure. Today, we’re going to talk about the importance of load testing and why it’s vital for your business.

Load Testing vs. Stress Testing

load and stress testing

Many times, load testing and stress testing are mixed.

What’s the difference between the two?

Simply put, load testing is measuring a system’s performance under a specific and expected load. A load test might be simulating a large number of users accessing a system to test its performance.

Stress testing, on the other hand, is a test to find the breaking point of a system. The goal of a stress test is to see how far a system can go before it breaks.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, what makes load testing so important?

Load Testing Gives you Measurable Data

In the IT world, data is often king. Both historical and recent data can help you make decisions about a system or software. It can be hard to make long-term decisions when you don’t have adequate data. 

What data can be collected through load testing? For starters, you can find:

  • Response times
  • Resource-utilization levels
  • Throughput rates
  • Memory leakage
  • Breaking point (assuming this happens below the peak load)

Those items listed above are all crucial KPIs, or key performance indicators. You can find out where you might be lacking, where you’re right on track, or where you need to improve.

In addition to those issues listed above, you can also check out any system lag, loading times, or other potential errors that may pop up with a large influx of users. This is something that typically can’t be carried out when fixing bugs.

Bug testing is single-user based and resolves issues like “application randomly quit” or “user was redirected to a blank page when clicking X button”.

Testing for bugs and other code issues is incredibly important but doesn’t allow you to get a bigger picture as load testing does. One can find problems that arise when hundreds or thousands of people are performing actions around the same time.

It Saves You Money

A 2014 study by Gartner showed that network downtime can cost up to $5,600 per minute or a whopping $300,000 per hour. Even if your business is booming, losing out on over $5,000 per minute is tough. Amazon once lost around $5 million after their website went down in 2013.

Talk about racing against the clock.

Load testing, on the other hand, isn’t going to demand you spill open your wallet nor will it cause such a huge headache. You’re going to be glad you invested in load testing.

Even if you only experience big spikes of activity around certain days, like Cyber Monday or Black Friday, you still need to be prepared. Those can be huge money opportunities for your website and you’ll be watching the money go down the drain if your site goes down.

It’s going to be much easier to patch any holes or issues before release than after a release. Plus, you could have plenty of angry users calling you about an issue or even worse, abandoning altogether. Users aren’t very forgiving and a bad experience is likely to stick in their heads.

It’s a Great Way to Measure Progress

With all the data you’ll be collecting, performing load testing makes it much easier to measure progress, report to the client, or judge how much work you have left to do.

You might be getting plagued by the following questions to the point where your replies are bordering on automatic responses.

  • Will we be ready by the deadline?
  • Is everything going to be working right?
  • Do we have time to make a last-minute change?
  • Just how far along are we?

Sometimes, it can be difficult to know where you are exactly during a project. Even though you set a timeline in advance, finding out exactly where you are on that timeline isn’t always easy. It can also be a great way to simulate user activity and progress. While you’re going to carry out in-house testing on your own, there’s nothing quite like releasing your software to the public or going live with your website.

Load testing can give you a great idea of where you are and how much further you need to go. It allows you to set (attainable) benchmarks and then measure your progress over a certain period of time.

You can set multiple tests at certain points along your timeline to see how your system is handling any changes or additions that you may make.

Load Testing is Efficient

efficiency

Many people may think that carrying out load testing is going to be overly time-consuming and set them back from their goals and smaller objectives. While it’s true that load testing shouldn’t be something you pass over quickly, load testing doesn’t have to take up the majority of your work efforts.

That’s because load testing can be automated and collaborative. Load testing services can give cloud-based results, meaning that it’s easier to see what is happening and why.

You can schedule these tests throughout different parts of the day such as during your peak hours or during the evening so you can wake up to a new report.

Quite simply, load testing is an efficient way to obtain an overall picture of your system, software, or website and its performance over time.

Conclusion

While load testing may seem like an arduous, tedious process, it can save you money and help your system become more efficient. It’s better to find and fix the errors before you go live or risk the ire of potential customers.

Not only will you feel more prepared to release, but you can take pride in knowing that you’re providing the consumer with a great product that won’t fail and continue bringing all customers back.

Here at Atiba, we specialize in many IT solutions, including load testing. Our experts have plenty of experience in working with businesses of all sizes to find something that fits your needs and helps you accomplish your business goals. Reach out to us today for a free quote!

5 Things to Know about User and Customer Experience

customer vs user experience

Customer experience and user experience are hot buzz words these days.

And there’s a good reason for it.

20 years ago there were fewer ways to interact with a business.

You might see an ad on TV or fly by a billboard on the interstate. If you wanted to buy from them you were probably making that purchase in person, talking to a representative of the company while you shopped around.

If not in person, you were purchasing over the phone. The success of a phone interaction depends entirely on verbal communication. But even those awkward phone calls meant that a live person was talking to a live customer in real-time.

How Customer Experience has Changed

But then, the internet came along and changed everything. It’s changed how we listen to music, get our news, and watch TV. It’s also changed the way we buy things.

We read millions of reviews. Research shows that 84% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase.

We see and hear how influencers use products. We can even use VR to “try” a couch in our living room. And when we’re ready to buy, we don’t even need to put on pants.

We’re familiar and comfortable buying basically everything online, from clothes and housewares to our actual houses.

That massive shift from an in-person world to an online one has required many businesses to rethink how they build a relationship with their customers.

How Much Do You Know About Your Customers?

So we see the differentiation and development of two types of buyer experience: customer and user. And while they both help businesses define and improve their relationship with customers, they are different and should be used differently.

Businesses need to understand how their products and processes impact and influence relationships with their customers.

Let’s talk about the 5 things you need to know about customer and user experience:

  1. Customer Experience and User Experience are Different
  2. What is Customer Experience?
  3. What is User Experience?
  4. How You Can Use Customer and User Experience to Improve Your Business?
  5. What to do if Your Company Needs Help With Customer and User Experience

1. Customer Experience and User Experience are Different

What makes them different?

You might define them by saying the customer experience is the full journey through milestones that often include user experiences.

User experiences, on the other hand, are more focused.

A user’s experience might involve making a dog grooming appointment. However, customer experience encompasses your holistic experience with that business from finding them, to making an appointment, arriving at the actual appointment, picking up your dog, and making your next appointment.

That customer experience could span weeks while the user experience might only be a few minutes. The user experience could be considered a milestone in the customer experience journey.

customer experience and user experience

So let’s break down the next thing you need to know: what are customer and user experience?

2. What is Customer Experience?

Customer experience is the holistic view a customer has of a business. How they feel after all of their interaction with the company. Let’s go back to the dog grooming example.

Sally’s New Groomer

dog grooming customer experience

Sally finds a dog grooming business by asking her neighborhood group on Facebook. Several people share their experience with the groomer and share the company’s website.

Sally visits the site and checks out their picture gallery, price list, and the About Us section. Sally can tell these people are passionate about taking care of dogs and they fit in her budget.

Sally wants to book online but…they don’t offer online bookings. So Sally calls the local number provided. She gets a voicemail and is a little annoyed but leaves a message anyway because of the positive reviews from Facebook.

The groomer calls Sally back and sets an appointment. On the day of the appointment, Sally arrives at the business address. It’s in a little house that’s been converted into a business.

Sally is surprised at how cute it looks and is pleasantly surprised by how nice it is inside. She’s quickly greeted by a smiling employee who’s expecting her. When she picks her dog up, Sally is really pleased with how good her pet looks.

Sally books a new appointment immediately.

How can we describe her customer experience?

A good way to answer that question is to ask: what would Sally tell someone who was looking for a groomer? The information she would share with that person would be her customer experience.

She might tell them how she heard about the business and that lots of people seem to love this groomer. She might also share that they don’t have a way to book online appointments and that she had to leave a voicemail (in 2020 no less).

But she’d likely end by saying the place is charming, the staff was friendly and her dog looked great and happy.

Despite some ups and downs, Sally had an overall positive customer experience and the groomer gained a new customer.

But let’s dive into that.

Sally would have preferred to book online instead of leaving a voicemail. If she’d found the website without the advice of her Facebook group, she might have given up on that groomer and found someone else.

That’s an important part of her experience. She was only willing to leave a voicemail and wait for a callback because she trusted the other customer recommendations.

The well respected consulting and research company, Forrester, has a great breakdown for what a great customer experience should include. If you want to break down the customer experience more strategically, this is a great approach.

Forrester says, “good customer experiences are three things from the perspective of the customer.They are useful (deliver value), usable (make it easy to find and engage with the value), and enjoyable (emotionally engaging so that people want to use them).”

What Could the Groomer Learn?

Sally had many milestones in her customer experience with the grooming company.

She started with testimonials from other customers. She moved on from there to their website. When she couldn’t make an appointment online, she called and interacted with their voicemail.

When she got a callback for an appointment, she spoke in-person with an employee of the company.

The day she dropped off her dog for its appointment, she visited the actual business in person and interacted again with the staff. The dog was so well-groomed and cared for that when she picked him up she immediately made a follow-up appointment.

If the grooming business had the opportunity to hear Sally’s full experience, they could learn a lot about how customers feel about their business.

That customer experience story tells them what they do well and where they have the opportunity.

Analyzing the Customer

customer transaction

What are a few key learnings from Sally’s experience for them? Let’s use the Forrester approach to analyze the customer experience.

  1. Useful: She didn’t have strong feelings about the cost but she clearly liked the result because she booked another appointment immediately so they must have been useful.
  2. Usable: But she struggled with the appointment process, and would have abandoned the process if not for the reviews of folks on Facebook. So usability was a challenge.
  3. Enjoyable: And enjoyable was also a mixed bag for Sally because she didn’t enjoy the voicemail or callback experience.

What lessons can the groomer take-away from all this?

  • They might find that by not offering a way to book appointments online they risk losing potential customers.
  • They might learn how valuable word of mouth is on Facebook and develop a social media presence for their business.

3. What is User Experience?

Ok, so now that we understand better what Sally’s customer experience was, where were the user experience elements?

The user experience is a more focused examination of one element of a customer’s journey. Take, for example, Sally’s experience booking the appointment.

Sally wanted to book online but she had to call, leave a voicemail, and wait for a callback. So, if the groomer wanted to create a better user experience, they might consider creating an online booking system.

If the groomer wanted to modernize how they took appointments, a good place to start that process is by asking themselves a few questions:

  1. Who is our customer?
  2. What does our customer want?
  3. Why do they want that?
  4. Where does our current process fall short?
  5. Can we offer that solution in a way that aligns with our brand?

The answers to those questions will guide the business in developing a better user experience. At this point, you might have realized that a solid understanding of the customer experience is the best way to answer these questions.

4. How to Use Customer and User Experience to Improve Your Business

customer service

If you aren’t constantly asking yourself, “Are we meeting our customer’s needs and expectations?” now’s the time to start.

The past few years have changed customer/business relationships in ways that were difficult to anticipate and challenging to address. There’s no reason to believe that tech and social changes won’t rapidly continue to impact those customer/business relationships in the future.

By understanding the holistic customer experience, a business can identify the user experience opportunities they may have.

Once those opportunities are identified, the company can further use what they know about what the customer does and doesn’t want by again turning to what they learned in the customer experience.

While Sally’s example is good for understanding what a customer and user experience are, there’s one more thing we haven’t talked about when using learnings from those.

Sally is one customer.

While the knowledge you get from one customer is likely a good representation for many more people, it’s still just one customer. Reliable and useful customer and user experience data should be collected for many people to really understand what a business does and doesn’t do well to serve its customers.

That brings us to the final thing you should know.

5. What to do if Your Company Needs Help With Customer and/or User Experience

By now you’re probably bought into the value of good customer and user experience data to help improve your business. But how do you do that?

The easy answer is to ask your customers. Be broad about who you consider a customer. If Sally had visited the website but never made an appointment you’d want to know why.

By asking both potential and purchasing customers what their experience was, you’ll learn how to provide a better experience overall.

But collecting data can be challenging. If you don’t already have the applications and processes in place to collect, organize, store, and analyze customer experience and user data, it’s probably time to investigate options for getting those in place.

Conclusion

From building solutions in-house with the help of IT teams on staff, to contracting that work out to knowledgeably and experienced tech firms, there are different ways to meet the need.

And there are benefits to both. While an in-house team might save you money in development, they’ll likely lack the knowledge and experience needed to do the job quickly and effectively.

Hiring a consultant who’s created customer and user experience solutions is often the fastest way to get that valuable information.

For smaller businesses without robust in-house IT teams, it’s often the most affordable option as well. Check out this article for tips on when and how to hire consultants for IT projects.

Once you have the data to understand the experience, you can start the process of creating solutions your customers will love.

Here at Atiba, we specialize in custom software development solutions, including customer and user experience data solutions. Our experts have plenty of experience in working with businesses of all sizes to find something that fits your needs and helps you accomplish your business goals. Reach out to us today for a free quote!

 

7 Guaranteed Ways to Succeed with Mobile App Development

mobile app development

Everyone remembers the old iPhone commercial with the catchline “there’s an app for that”. The original commercial mentioned checking the snow on the mountains, where you parked your car, and how many calories your lunch had.

Apps have evolved greatly over the 10 years since that commercial ran and now most businesses are also diving into mobile app development. As a way to improve their brand and reach the greatest amount of customers, small to large businesses have developed their own app.

With over 175 billion apps being downloaded daily, it can be easy for your app to get lost in the shuffle. Let’s talk about what you need to have in mind when you go about developing your own app.

Make it An App

Wow, what a great tip right? You should be building your web app to be an app!

While that may seem like a simple (and ridiculous) thing to say, we mean that you should be making your app its own entity.

app design

That means you should avoid making it just a simple reflection of your website or even worse, using your app as the mobile version of your site.

Not only have you wasted your time and money making an app, but you’re going to be disappointing the most important people in all of this: the users.

Why would users waste space on their devices and time downloading the app if it’s just a simple extension or reflection of your site? Spoiler alert: they won’t. And those that do will quickly be dragging your icon to the uninstall option.

Make it Simple

Have you ever visited a website and found navigating to a certain page to be almost impossible? Drop-down menus block your selection and the structure is just way too confusing.

When it comes to mobile app development, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Apps with too many features can overload a user and make using your app very confusing. In fact, according to this survey from Clever Tap, app confusion was the 5th ranked reason to uninstall.

Be Ready for Updates

Updates are one of those things that fall into the “annoying but necessary” bucket.

You can’t just push your app out and call it a day. You have to prepare for the future.

Mobile app updates can come in a variety of flavors. Maybe it’s patching a security issue. Maybe it’s offering a new feature. Or maybe, it’s a complete redesign. You should be monitoring your app constantly and making sure it’s adhering to standards and following all guidelines.

Updates also let your user base know that you’re listening to them and looking to make improvements. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that everything you did is perfect and wrapped up.

Utilize Proper Communication

mobile app communication

In a 2017 survey, 1300 employees were asked about the role that miscommunication plays in their office environment. Around 80% agreed that miscommunication happened within their setting but less than half thought they were part of the miscommunication issue.

Hmm.

When it comes to developing your app, there are going to be different teams involved. The developer team needs to be in sync with the design team. Remember, you’re likely only going to get one shot with a successful release so making sure all issues are ironed out beforehand is vital.

Take Testing Seriously

When you’re going through the final processes of mobile app development, you’re going to eventually run into the testing phase. Not only do you want to smooth out any issues, but you have to make sure your app is ready for users.

A buggy app means users are going to uninstall and forget about your app. In fact, 37% of users said they’d immediately uninstall an app the moment they spot a major bug. It doesn’t matter if you send out an email blast detailing your new fixes and offering a mea culpa, users have already moved on.

You need to test out the UI/UX of your app as well, making sure it’s user-friendly and optimal.

Whether you’re rolling out A/B testing or going over it all with a fine-toothed comb, you need to make sure your app is up to snuff and ready for the open market.

Be Mindful of Size

The average person has around 80 apps on their phone. Some were pre-installed and others were downloaded later. All of those apps share one thing in common: they’re taking up precious space on a user’s phone. Even though plenty of devices can store up to 64GB, the average consumer isn’t overly liberal with their storage.

Second on the above survey for reasons users uninstall apps was limited storage. Don’t fall victim to a larger than life app!

Bloated apps are going to stick out like a sore thumb and tempt the user to uninstall, especially if they’re not making regular use out of the app.

What can you do to ensure your app isn’t the size of a small city?

  • Compress any images
  • Look to minify code
  • Remove or reuse resources
  • Look to minimize resource use from libraries

That way, you can make your app small, compact, and ready to go.

Pay Attention to Reviews

reading reviews

Even though it may not be a direct part of mobile app development, making sure you’re taking reviews into account is vital for the future success of your app.

While it may not be ready to hit Google’s Play Store or the Apple App Store, you should be seeking feedback from others in your organization. Ask them about functions, ease of use, user experience, and more. Take what they say into account as they’re most likely to give you honest feedback.

Even though they may not be mobile app experts, remember Netflix CEO Reed Hastings was once warned by a friend about the impending disaster of Netflix’s new business model.

Conclusion

When it comes to mobile app development, there’s a lot to consider. You want to make sure it not only runs well, but is free from bugs, and provides a positive experience for your users.

Here at Atiba, we have a team of mobile app experts waiting to help you develop your app.

No matter what problem you’re having or project you want to launch, we can help. As leading IT experts and consultants, we provide immediate response time and 24/7 support.

Reach out to us today!

Nashville Software School

JumpStart into Coding: Nashville Software School

By David Williams, Atiba Software Development Intern

Before I took the Nashville Software School’s JumpStart class, the most coding I had done was on my calculator in 9th grade. The course is a mere three weeks long and totals 33 hours of one’s time. It meets Saturdays from 9:00 am-2:00 pm, Monday and Wednesday’s from 6:00 pm-9:00 pm.

Who takes this class?

My JumpStart class had ten students, one teacher, and four TAs. My classmates ranged from bartenders trying to learn a more stable skill in the time of COVID, to marines returning from duty to me, a former teacher looking to switch career paths.

What does this class teach?

The class provides front end development in the languages of HTML, CSS, and JAVA. I had no idea what that meant either when I started. HTML is the language that tells computers what words are displayed on a website. CSS is the language that tells computers what those words should look like (font, borders, backgrounds, etc.).

And Java is the language that allows people to interact with a website. For example, Java enables people to click on items on your website. By the end of the three weeks, I was able to create my very own website from scratch.

 What is this class like?

The class has no homework, no out-of-class reading, and no grades. You get out of it whatever you put into it. It is structured perfectly for true beginners who just want to dip their toes into coding.

The teacher spends about 15 minutes going over a few commands and explains what the commands do and how to use them. Then the teacher takes about 15-30 minutes coding themselves and plays around with those commands.

For instance, one small section of a class was spent on the CSS commands for creating borders around the text. The teacher showed everyone how to make the border solid or dotted, how to increase its thickness, and how to put a background within that border.

After the demonstration, its time for the students to work. There is a 30 min individual mini-challenge. The challenge walks you through using the commands and makes you think about how you can apply it.

There are always TA’s available to help if you are confused. One mini-challenge for Java had the class create a button that displays text when you click on it. When about 75% of the class finishes the assignment, the teacher goes over the answer.

Other Points

Nashville Software School uses the group messaging app Slack. It provides every member of my group, the teacher and the TA’s included, a platform to chat. Slack was a great way to ask questions when not in class and is an even better way to network when the class is over. NSS is upfront about the importance of networking in finding a job, and Slack allows people to stay in touch without exchanging numbers.

Lastly, I should point out that the course emphasizes how to self-study afterward. NSS provides tools and websites to learn and practice after the three weeks are up. There are thousands of YouTube tutorials online, but part of this JumpStart course is to give you the vocabulary and the agency to watch those videos without feeling overwhelmed. It is well worth the $650 price tag.

 

 

Why Responsive Web Design is Crucial for Your Business

responsive web design business

If your business has a website, then you’ve probably stumbled across the term responsive web design or some variation of it. By no means is this a new buzzword or recent advancement (check out this article from 2011), but it can still be surprising how many websites fail to implement a proper responsive design.

Websites that aren’t responsive are not only being penalized by Google but are also losing customers on a daily basis. Not having a responsive website gives your visitors a bad experience and they’ll likely leave without viewing a single page.

Today, we’re going to cover why responsive design is more vital than ever and other things you can do to make sure you’re standing out.

The Basics of Responsive Web Design

The primary idea behind responsive web design is to have a website appropriately adjust for the device the visitor is using. Whether the website visitor is on a mobile phone, tablet, or desktop, the website should be able to respond appropriately.

However, not all phones, tablets, and computers are made equal so the responsive design must go a bit further than simply adapting to the device itself. Screen sizes can vary widely and what happens if a user decides to flip their phone in portrait mode? What happens when they zoom in and out?

Text, images, buttons, content, and more needs to be able to respond to the user’s actions in order to make the website visitors as positive and easy as possible. Everyone wants a clean and easy to use the website.

Besides grabbing the nearest phone or tablet, you can check what your website looks like on various devices from your own computer.

1. Press F12 (if on Chrome) to open up the developer tools

2. Select the following option in the developer tools menu

3. From there, you can check out what your site looks like on various devices, resolutions, and even in portrait mode.

responsive design options

It’s fairly simple to do and can give you a quick check on your site’s performance.

The ultimate goal is to make browsing a website as seamless and flexible as possible, no matter what device is in the hands of the users.

The Shift Towards Mobile Users

Mobile-Friendly vs. Responsive Design

From the outside, it’s easy to get these terms confused so let’s run over them quickly.

Mobile-friendly refers to a website having a mobile version for their website. Pretty much every website out there has a mobile-friendly version. You’d really have to crawl through the depths of the internet to find a website that isn’t mobile-friendly.

What makes responsive design unique is the ability of the website to adapt to the user’s actions and device. That means making sure it adapts to portrait view, various mobile devices, and zooming in and out.

Pictures should be optimized, buttons need to be easily clickable, and text needs to be readable. It’s not hard to make a site mobile-friendly but it can be a challenge to have the right responsive design. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your site is responsive just because it’s mobile-friendly.

Mobile-First Indexing

Finding someone without a smartphone is about as tough as it was finding someone with a smartphone 10+ years ago. They’re used for everything these days,  like looking up cute cat photos, laughing at memes, or checking the latest sports scores.

Check out this following graphic from Broadband Search:

That’s almost unbelievable, a 222% rise in mobile traffic over the last seven years!

Such a drastic shift to mobile search caught the attention of Google, who officially switched to mobile-first indexing back in July of 2019.

What exactly does this mean? Let’s hear what Google has to say:

“Mobile-first indexing means Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking. Historically, the index primarily used the desktop version of a page’s content when evaluating the relevance of a page to a user’s query.”

Basically, Google is going to be looking at your mobile site before they check out your desktop site.

Google uses their smartphone crawler tool to judge a website’s mobile usability and functionality. If you haven’t already, you can check your Google Search Console to see when your website officially switched to mobile-first indexing. If you don’t see any notice, it’s likely because the switch happened months ago and you unknowingly clicked by the message.

So, what happens if you don’t have a proper mobile website? The answer is both easy and bleak: you’re going to start slipping in the rankings.

Having your visibility drop could cost you valuable clicks which eventually leads to a loss of conversions and customers. All the work you put into boosting your rankings and local SEO could end up being for nothing. Ensuring you have proper responsive design means a mobile-friendly site which equals a better chance of moving up the rankings.

Mobile Usability

If you’re someone who regularly checks Google Search Console (which you should be doing anyway), then you might already be somewhat familiar with the Mobile Usability option on the sidebar.

The mobile usability tab will show you how Google views the mobile version of your website. It goes a bit further than simply double-checking that your site adheres to their mobile guidelines. For example, it will tell you which pages pass the test and which pages, if any, have errors on them.

This relatively new feature is incredibly handy when checking your website and ensuring it ticks all the right boxes. You might have to hand some things off to your web developer to ensure that these issues are taken care of and don’t harm your rankings with Google.

The Google 2021 Update

responsive design google

When it comes to world secrets, Google’s algorithm is up there along with the recipe for Coke and what really happens at Area 51. While Google employees will often host webinars to answer questions and dispel any myths, they never give away the whole pie.

We do know, however, when an update comes out. The results pages see high volatility for a few weeks before everything (somewhat) settles down. The most recent update was the May 4th update which saw high volatility in industries like travel and real estate.

Google is always nice enough to warn people about the updates, as they’ve done with the 2021 update that focuses on page experience. Page experience will now play a role in ranking.

What goes into “page experience”? Google has listed out a number of core vitals, which are:

  • Mobile-friendly
  • Safe and secure browsing
  • Loading performance
  • Interactivity
  • Cumulative layout shift

But what does this have to do with responsive web design?

Sites that have responsive design load faster and are more likely to have minimal layout shifts.

Cumulative layout shift (CLS) is a new metric that ensures if the page is stable during loading. It seeks to find out if buttons, images, text, ads, and more move during loading. If you’ve ever tried to push a button on a website only to have it move at the last second, you’ve experienced a negative layout shift.

Proper responsive web design can ensure all those images, buttons, and more are stable during loading. Sometimes, fixing those issues can be difficult which is why having an experienced web developer is key for moments such as this.

Responsive Web Design Equals Positive User Experience

Another Google tool that you should be making use of is Google Analytics. There, you can find statistics on how people found your website, how long they stay on your website, and which pages they visit.

It can also tell you the bounce rate of your visitors, or the percentage of people who enter your site and leave after visiting just one page.

Having a high bounce rate isn’t always a bad thing. If you see an informative blog or content piece that has a high bounce rate, that may be normal. Visitors visit the page, get the information they want, and then leave. It’s not the worst thing in the world, nor does it have an effect on how Google sees your website.

pagespeed

If you’re running an eCommerce site, however, then having a high bounce rate could mean users aren’t browsing your store or checking out products.

It can be difficult to track exactly why users are bouncing off, but the poor user experience is often one of the leading causes.

Page load time, for example, has a direct effect on bounce rate according to a 2018 study by Pingdom.

A slow web page or page that has a lot of shifting content is going to frustrate users and they’ll leave before they read your blog, check out the store, or browse around.

It’s like owning a storefront and having the front door accidentally locked during opening hours, not displaying product prices, or being absent behind the register. Basic things that should be taken care of are already shooting you in the foot.

By ensuring your website uses responsive design, you’re providing a positive user experience to your visitors. They may not end up a conversion, but you’re giving yourself a better chance at success by following sound tactics.

Proper responsive web design is more than just picking the right theme for your website. You need experienced developers who can tackle any problem and make sure your website fulfills all the necessary requirements for not just Google, but your visitors as well.

If you’re looking at improving your web design, reach out to us today for a free project quote. We look forward to working with you.