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How does a (truly) effective mobile app launch checklist look like? 

What key areas to look into does it include? What critical issues to be fixed before launch day? What metrics to measure and features to test should there be on this well-constructed “to-do” list?

Here, we've trimmed down all the steps to take before launching a mobile app to... a shortlist of 10.

10 aspects you must absolutely check and optimize before... going public.
 

1. Identify all Redirects and Broken Links

Make sure you address these issues before launch day.

For, if overlooked, they'll keep slowing down your app and affect the user experience.
 

Broken Links

Two of the most popular free tools for detecting and fixing broken links are:
 

  • Xenu
  • Broken Link Center
     

Once spotted, decide whether they should be removed or just updated.
 

Redirects

Rely on Screaming Frog to scan your website for redirects or, on HSTS to get rid of the SSL redirect.
 

2. Minify Your JS, CSS and HTML Files

A step to be found on any mobile app launch checklist.

How does this size reducing process work? By removing unnecessary code:
 

  • unused spaces in your CSS
  • superfluous JavaScript code
  • redundant line breaks in your HTML
     

Plugins like Autoptimize and Fast Velocity Minify (if it's a WordPress-based app that you're launching) are just a few examples of plugins you could use to streamline the process.


3. Measure and Optimize the Time to First Byte

To what extent does the handled data affect your app's performance when traveling across the network? Does it use too much network bandwidth?

Keep a close track on the time to first byte and, if you detect any alarming signs, here are some of the solutions at hand:
 

  • apply flush techniques to prevent your backend from getting “overweight”
  • closely monitor your database configuration and schema
  • compress all data sent over the network
  • modify your server configuration
     

In short, remember to include tracking this specific metric on your mobile app launch checklist...
 

4. Trim Down the Content to Its Essential Elements and Features

Consider the smaller screen that your content will be accessed. Next, empathize with those users and try to anticipate the experience they'll get if:
 

  • your content's “stuffed” with lots and lots of footers, headers, sidebars, menus
  • … graphs, tables
     

Would you be able to easily swift through this heavy load of distracting elements, to identify the main message and... stay focused on it?

So, you get my point: trim down the clutter and keep it concise.

Enable your content to easily shine through, instead of “burying“ it under a load of bulky elements.

Note: you might want to consider going for video content where possible and removing the hover-effects if there are any; not all mobile devices support this functionality.
 

5. Text Compression: A Bullet Point on Any Mobile App Launch Checklist

Another one of those fixes that you must absolutely do before launching your mobile app is compressing your text files.

It's one of the bulletproof techniques for boosting your app's performance.

How to do it? There are multiple ways:
 

  • enable default compression using Gzip, since it's highly likely that your CDN supports compressed files
  • if compression is not already enabled (assuming that you don't host your own website), just opt for any of the available plugins to set it up yourself: WP Super Cache, W3 Total Cache, WP Rocket...
     

6. Streamline Your Checkout Process 

A step from your mobile app launch checklist that you shouldn't overlook. 

Since confusing and/or too long checkout process is one of the main factors affecting UX after all...

What can you do to optimize it?
 

  • test your mobile app on various devices, with different screen sizes and try to detect the “bottlenecks” in the process
  • address any too small touch points issues
  • simplify the discouragingly complex form navigation
  • integrate your app with payment gateways; this way you'll automate the tedious “enter your checkout information” process
  • enable users to set up profiles that would allow them to save and to automatically re-use all the needed information whenever they need to re-fill the form
     

7. Measure and Boost Your Mobile App's Speed

Another critical metric to measure before you launch your app is speed

How fast does your mobile app load? Are there too many requests overburdening your back-end servers that drag your app down?

Or, even worse: that cause it to crash?

And these requests overstaining your server range from:
 

  • API requests
  • to DNS lookups
  • to network bandwidth
  • to data size
  • to HTTP calls
     

8. Simplify Your Website's Structure: Keep It Highly Intuitive

Apply the “extreme simplicity and maximum efficiency” principle to your website's structure.

Keep it conveniently easy to navigate and review all content hierarchies before launching your application. Make sure they're not confusingly... bulky.

Now, here's an example of a well-constructed website structure for mobile:
 

  • homepage
  • categories/sections
  • subcategories
  • single posts and individual pages
     

Again, turn empathy into your most powerful tool: try to anticipate users' standard “routes” on your website. Then, see if all the categories in the hierarchy make instant sense.
 

9. Optimize Your Images

By far one of the most effective and handiest “To Do's” on your mobile app launch checklist...

Resizing your images and optimizing them for specific uses will speed up your app dramatically. 

And speaking of “handy solutions”, you surely do not run out of options when it comes to image optimization tools:
 

  • Cloudinary, Fastly, Akamai, for hosting and optimization
  • XNConvert, ImageOptim for on-off optimization
  • Imagemin, Thumbor, Imageflow for automated optimization 
     

10. Split Your Code: Break Down Large JavaScript Bundles into... Smaller Chunks

Heavy bundles of JavaScript to be processed will just... slow down your mobile app. 

This is why code splitting should be one of your top 10 issues to fix before launching a mobile app:
 

  • it will break those “beefy” JS bundles down into smaller pieces
  • and deliver them way quicker
  • ... only upon users' requests
     

Note: you can split your code either at a component or at a route level using tools like WebPack, Parcel, React...

The END!

These are the 10 essential To Do's to include in your mobile app launch checklist.

Why? Because:
 

  1. they address critical issues which, if left unsolved, will have the biggest impact on the user experience
  2. there are multiple handy solutions for them all (and most of them are free), that you only need to... apply


Image by Fedorussie from Pixabay.

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