The 15-Second Rule for: Apps

Let’s talk numbers.

There are over five million apps available on iOS and Android.

The average person will use 9 of those per week, and around 30 per month. If they have over 80 apps on their device, over 62% of them will not be used, which opens up an interesting question: how do you make sure that your app – the one you poured your blood, sweat, and tears into – makes it into the top 30, and then into the top 9?

The 15 second rule.

When it comes to apps, speed is the name of the game. If your app struggles to load up in the time it takes to repeat your order at the Nice Guys drive-thru, the people using it might decide to go for an app that loads faster and better. Whether or not your app is more useful to them falls second to the time it takes to load up and to work.

However, there’s a bright side.

Making an app speedy doesn’t mean you have to scrap what you have and start over. And it doesn’t mean you have to go minimalist or take out any really cool animations or design elements you have.

And it especially doesn’t mean you should make your app less detailed.

Apps are business gold. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: a good app, detailed and beautiful and efficient, builds a connection between a company and its audience that goes far deeper than a web-page or a social media account might be able to establish.


As few clicks as possible.

You open the app. It takes one click to get to the account page, another click to go to the main function, maybe two or three more if you want to check something else while you’re at it: that’s how it goes. When it comes to making apps that load up instantly, though, there’s something to be said for the path of least resistance. Take the consumer journey yourself, and try and see where the unnecessary clicks are. Is there an extra step that could be merged with another? Or a step that can be entirely removed and all the information put on the app’s main page?

Keep your splash screen minimal.

A splash screen can help your loading times seem less like a loading time, if it’s only visible between 2 – 4 seconds. Any longer than that, and your users might get frustrated, and you’re back at square one.

Optimise all your images.

It’s something you might forget about while you’re coding, so consider this your friendly reminder: images can be compressed without losing image quality. To speed up your loading times, it’s definitely worth looking into how you can reduce image sizes to just under 100KB – that should help knock your loading times down by a few seconds.

Release regular updates.

Technology moves fast. The platform you were working with when the app was built will get an update, and so your app should get an update too. It’s the easiest, most efficient way to make sure that your app runs fast, sure, but also that it runs without problems, and that it doesn’t become obsolete or break because of the platform update.

Test libraries frequently.

You updated the app. You optimised all your images. Your splash screen is beautiful and minimal. Your app still loads slowly. The problem might not be as visible to you as a missing update or too-big images. Sometimes, it could be third-party applications: an outdated library, a slow-loading library, a library that has ceased to remain relevant. Go through and test all your third-party libraries and functions. If any libraries are outdated, it’s better to deactivate them until they get an update.

Compress app data.

Every time users open an app, the app records data. One way of making sure your app loads quickly is to make sure the app’s collected data is optimised and compressed into the smallest possible footprint. By compressing that data, you free up valuable space in the app itself, which in turn lets it load a lot faster than if it has to first get through all the collected information. Making apps look beautiful and load fast isn’t easy, but there’s always a way to find a balance between usability and design. If you’re in the market for an app, and you want to know the options open to you, drop us a message: we’ll be happy to talk you through your options.