Build resilient systems at scale
28–30 October 2015 • Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Bad implementations of good ideas: How systemic inattention to performance can kill your mobile app

Doug Sillars (AT&T)
16:10–16:50 Friday, 30/10/2015
Location: G102/103
Average rating: ****.
(4.40, 25 ratings)
Slides:   1-PPTX 

Prerequisite Knowledge

Understanding of mobile applications or mobile web development. Eagerness to share performance ideas with colleagues.


It seems like common sense: apps that crash are used less than apps that run as expected. Therefore, development resources are often committed to reducing app crashes to improve engagement. However, these same apps often launch without any attention paid to app performance. Recent research shows that customer reaction to slow application performance is similar to crashes: uninstalls, bad reviews, and one-star ratings.

As no one wants to discover that their app’s architecture is flawed in final testing, it is crucial that performance is considered in every aspect of application development: from story creation through implementation, and finally in testing. By making performance part of your company’s culture, you’ll be keeping app speed and performance top of mind throughout the development process, your user base engagement will be higher, and sales will grow.

In this talk, I’ll look at several top mobile applications and how poorly implemented features with no consideration for performance led to outages, customer complaints, and low engagement. Through our analysis of applications and by helping development teams raise awareness of performance impacts, these applications have improved their performance – delighting customers with faster applications that do not kill their battery, their data plan, or their patience.

Photo of Doug Sillars

Doug Sillars


Doug has been a member of the AT&T Developer Program for the last 10 years. He currently leads a team of outreach engineers who are training developers in best practices for mobile performance. The tools and best practices developed at AT&T help developers make mobile apps run faster, use less data and less battery.