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How An App Can Be Tweaked To Counter Bad Mobile Data Coverage In India Little tweaks to enhance the user experience in unstable telecommunication coverage in India'.

By Reechal Vardhan

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An average Indian resident having access to smartphones and the internet faces several data-related issues in different locations. Problems associated with Mobile data are not only confined to network connectivity but also include fluctuations in speed and quality. According to Ericsson Consumer Lab's Report, 2015, titled "The Changing Mobile Broadband Landscape", 63% of the users of mobile data indoors face quality and reliability issues such as lost connections and inconsistent network speeds while 68% of the users relying on mobile data outdoors face issues such as lags in loading data and maps, refreshing apps and session failures.

A fluctuating internet connection can cost an app its potential active users. Users generally develop a perception of the app being slow and prone to bugs when their internet is not at its best. Every business whose primary consumer interface is an app must understand the importance of solving such internet issues to provide users a smooth experience. There are multiple checks and techniques that can be employed to ensure a seamless and enjoyable ride for users every time they engage with your app. Here's a look at some of these measures:

Loading images in low resolution

If a lot of the content on the app is image-based and the number of images in a single post is high, in case of poor connectivity, displaying the feed to the users can be pretty challenging. This issue can be resolved to a large extent by displaying images in low resolution.

Image pre-fetch

Whenever the user is connected to Wi-Fi, the app can pre-fetch up to ten image-based posts which he/she has not seen in the feed yet. This way, when the user connects to mobile data at a later stage, he/she can see the feed with new posts without a lag.

Storing previously seen feed

If the user is connected to mobile data and for some reason loses connectivity, the feed seen by the user in his/her last session can be displayed on the app. This enables the user to browse through posts and not have an empty feed.

Prompts to retry posting

If a user is unable to complete posting something due to internet-related issues, the same post can appear right at the top of the user's feed prompting him/her to retry posting. This card must not go away from the top of the feed till the user manually discards it.

Re-starting onboarding from the last completed step

It is imperative for an app to have a multi-step on-boarding process for its new users. Let us assume that the user's onboarding is interrupted due to internet issues at step 2/3. On restarting the app, the user will not be taken back to step 1/3 but to step 2/3. This helps save the user's time and therefore reduces his/her tendency to drop out at the registration stage.

Compressing text and images

To avoid lags in displaying text and images on the app, the app's technical/backend team must use a compression technique to respond to all the requests sent to the server. This is then decompressed on the app side before being visible to the user.

These techniques are very useful for apps of any nature and can ensure that the user has a smooth experience regardless of internet connectivity and speed. They help optimize an app, improve the user experience and enhance the propensity of the user to maintain continued engagement with the product.

Reechal Vardhan

Product Manager, Roposo

Reechal is currently a Product Manager at Roposo, a social network for people who share similar interests. Previously, she has worked in the domain of consulting and analytics at EXL Service (Inductis). 
She has completed her MBA from IIM Bangalore (2012-2014) with subjects in Marketing, Strategy and Financial Markets and has majored in Economics (2009-2012) from Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi University.

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