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Improving web performance with responsive design

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Making your web app adaptive following responsive design techniques can improve your performance score, here is how.

The benefits of applying responsive design include boosting your SEO, having a better user experience on different devices, and making your website more accessible, but did you know that making your web app adaptive to different viewports can also improve your web performance score? In previous articles, we explained the current status of responsive design including dark mode and responsive design for foldables, and we even share some insights about its future, now let’s deep dive into how web performance is related to an optimized look and feel.

Web Performance Metrics

The first step to improving something is to measure it! Being aware of what metrics that we should collect to later compare results that will show us which aspects of our web app needs more work. When it’s about web performance, we can use any of our favourite browser devtools, in this case, I will be using Lighthouse. There are many metrics to consider but when it’s about responsive design, Cumulative Layout Shift and CSS Optimization play an important role.

Cumulative Layout Shift

The first metric that we will use to achieve a responsive design is Cumulative Layout Shift, this is really important because is a user-centric metric and measures visual stability. How many times have you been on a website and suddenly you experience some changes in the layout? It's like the page moves by itself! This can lead to click on the wrong thing or lose your place whilst reading. Annoying right? We don’t want to offer that bad user experience! Let me show you an example and how we fixed it.

Last year we build the first prototype of Samsung Global Goals PWA in collaboration with the United Nations, our mission was to bring the native app to other platforms because we believe in the power of the outreach of the World Wide Web. This web app basically loads dynamic content like cards with images and text. One of our main goals was to deliver a fast app even if the connection was not reliable, then we tested the web app using a low bandwidth connection to see how it goes. The results were not bad but as we had dynamic images loading, our cards changed the size while it completes the download of the resources. This looks really bad, therefore it deserves a fix (and an apology to the user).

Cards while loading with a low connection.Cards while loading with a low connection.

How do we fix this? It’s pretty simple, if you have the same problem using images, always set up height and width.

Width and height attribute added to img elementWidth and height attribute added to img element


If you have dynamic content like us on your web app or let’s say that you will show ads later, make sure to use placeholders specifically for this content. This is what we did, we used a placeholder with a background colour that matches the card and image, so images will load and cards won't move at all. Websites should strive to have a CLS score of 0.1 or less, by doing this we went from 0.33 to 0! Besides that, remember if your image is in a container you can use CSS to adjust the image to it by using height: auto and width: 100%

CSS Optimization

We usually rely on external CSS libraries to achieve a responsive design, there are a few things that we have to keep in mind to don’t mess up our performance if we do this. The techniques related to CSS optimization include reducing render-blocking CSS, eliminating unused CSS rules, and minify CSS.

I will focus on removing unused CSS since it’s one of the most common issues that we need to improve when using external resources. Actually, you can check if you have unused CSS on Lighthouse, for example, here is telling us that we are not using around 95% of our CSS, this is a lot!

Unused CSS metric on lighthouseUnused CSS metric on lighthouse

How to detect unused CSS and remove it

If you are using an external library check if you have the option to export just the components that you will use instead. Another option is taking a look at how your web app is using the resources. You can try this on Chrome Dev tools, press CTRL + SHIFT +Pto open the command line, and type coverage. A new tab will appear where you will find how much percentage of your resources are being used. For example, the following CSS library has almost 40% of unused lines, same with other resources. If you click on a particular one you can even see which lines are used or unused indicated by different colors.


There are several libraries that can detect unused CSS and reduced your CSS file size, like Purify CSS, which is a JS library that you can install with npm or directly use purify CSS online. It will not only show you the amount of unused code it will also create a new CSS file with just the code that you currently need.

🚀Performance and Responsive Design are correlated

Just in case that you were not clear about the multiple benefits of responsive design, now you can add one more to this list: making your web app faster and more performant. Which are your favorite performance tools?

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    • By Samsung Newsroom
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      Easy to Make, Beautiful to Behold
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      The cardboard furniture displayed on the website are all items that were chosen by designers who actually tried making them themselves. “When we focused on aesthetics, it became difficult to make the furniture, and the designs often didn’t end up being very useful,” said Son. “On the other hand, when the furniture was too easy to make, it didn’t look so great. We also got rid of any furniture designs that could potentially create safety issues.”
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      1 According to the Global E-waste Monitor 2020 by Global E-waste Statistics Partnership (GESP), the amount of electronic waste in 2019 was 53.6 million metric tons (Mt).
      2 2020 global annual TV sales figures are based on findings from market research firm OMDIA.
      3 Compared to remote controls of Samsung Electronics’ 2020 TV models.
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      As more and more consumers gravitate towards streaming services, TVs are evolving into the device of choice for those who desire larger, higher-quality screens, more immersive gaming experiences and at-home exercise functionalities, among other features. These days, Smart TVs are particularly in the spotlight given that users can enjoy a whole array of different content on them with just an Internet connection.
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      Q. Recently, a growing number of consumers have been putting more value on user experience instead of TV price or design when purchasing TVs. What is driving this change in purchase trends?
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      Q. Are industry insiders noting an experience-centric user trend?
      Samsung Electronics started to provide smart TVs in 2011 and emerged as the industry leader. However, back then, users were less involved with the smart TV trend and there were few partners active in the market. These days, smart TVs are becoming increasingly important, and Samsung’s Smart TV has become a pivotal partner. Trend analysis shows us that, today, people are enjoying binge-watching shows more than they are watching shows in real-time. According to our internal research, people are spending more time watching Over-the-top (OTT) content on Samsung Smart TVs than they are watching live content. U.S. users subscribe to an average of three OTT services, demonstrating that smart TV markets are on the rise globally.
      Q. How is the Samsung Smart TV adapting to these changing trends?
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      Q. What makes the Samsung Smart TV unique in terms of its platform?
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      Q. Can you share one useful tip for Samsung Smart TV users?
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      * Universal Guide screen displayed above is available for European users only.
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      At Samsung Developer Conference 2019, Samsung Electronics unveiled a range of development tools that streamline the app building experience for the Tizen OS. ‘EasyST’ enables users to quickly test online video content on TVs, while ‘Wits’ helps with monitoring apps in development in real-time on a television. These and a range of other tools are available for anyone to access.
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      This platform also enables partners of Samsung Electronics to conveniently provide content to more than 140 million users in 197 different countries around the world. Since Tizen OS supports a broad host of TV models that range from FHD to QLED 8K, the operating system has made reaching a wider user base easier and more efficient. Tizen OS also offers support for a number of virtual assistants, including Bixby, Alexa and Google Assistant, which further facilitate easy access to a diverse array of content.

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      View the full article
    • By Samsung Newsroom
      We can’t guarantee our users have a good internet connection but we can still be helpful when they don’t.
      In ideal conditions the user will always maintain a good connection to the web but things are seldom ideal. Fortunately since we’re been building a web app we have a service worker which has the capability of caching network responses.
      If the network fails or takes too long to respond we can then use these cached responses to show the user the page they were looking for, letting people continue to use the app despite not being connected. Unfortunately our cache isn’t always perfect. Sometimes the user will be trying to go to a page which hasn’t been cached yet.
      If we haven’t anticipated this we may see the dreaded no connection message:

      Fortunately we are very smart developers [citation needed] and can show a branded offline page. So the user still feels like they are using our web app when the connection is lost. here are some examples:

      These are great for maintaining a consistent user experience during network failures which is the expected behaviour of a native app.
      These pages can do even more though, they can be used to provide entertainment such as The Guardian’s developer blog providing a crossword on their offline page. Which unfortunately I can’t find a live version of any more.
      The Guardian’s crossword offline page.
      A useful offline page for almost any Web App
      I’m going to propose, and build, a feature which should be useful to many apps and websites and would make your app still partly usable whilst your offline. This is to show a lit of relevant cached pages to the user:

      This example app is an RSS Feed reader. Where the user can read an RSS feed at a URL like so:
      /feed/?url=https://ada.is/feed This app is rendered on the server so it returns all the information in the HTML page, these pages get cached by the service worker. If your app uses JSON to populate pages on the client side this technique still works as long as you cache both the JSON responses and the pages which show them.
      This is a common pattern in many Web Apps and will work as long as you have pages cached.
      Step 1. Be prepared, by pre-caching the offline page
      Firstly we need to store the offline page, when the app starts. To do this I had the HTML file /offline/ and it’s resources /offline.js cached as soon as the app starts, by populating the cache during the service worker’s install event.
      const CACHE_NAME = "DENORSS-v1.0.0"; self.addEventListener("install", (event) => { event.waitUntil( caches .open(CACHE_NAME) .then((cache) => cache.addAll(["/", "/offline/", "/offline.js"]) ) .then(self.skipWaiting()) ); }); Step 2. Show the offline page
      Then when the user tries to navigate to a page we do not have we can show that cached /offline/ page.
      Our existing code first tried to respond with a live page, if that failed it would try retrieving the page from cache, if that fails instead of just failing and showing the browser error message we instead respond with the offline page.
      // Try showing the offline page if it's a navigation if (event.request.mode === "navigate") { const offlinePage = await caches.match("/offline/"); if (offlinePage) return offlinePage; } Step 3. Getting a list of cached pages
      This now shows the offline page when there is no alternative. Now lets provide a list of cached pages the user might like to read instead. Like in the example below.

      The first step we need to do is to open the web apps caches to find pages we want to access:
      const cacheKeys = await window.caches.keys(); const caches = await Promise.all( cacheKeys.map((cacheName) => window.caches.open(cacheName)) ); This gives us an array of caches.
      Next we want to find all of the cached pages from those caches, this works by using cache.matchAll with ignoreSearch: true to find all cache results from the /feed/ endpoint.
      const results = await Promise.all( caches.map((cache) => cache.matchAll("/feed/", { ignoreSearch: true, }) ) ); I only looked at the /feed/ end point because I felt that pages like /search/ with search results or the error pages like /404.html would not be useful to users and main pages like the home page / are already linked to in the navigation bar.
      Our results returns an array of arrays for the results from each cache. We will flatten this and then handle each cached response:
      results.flat().forEach(async (response) => { // Code goes here }); We only want to get the useful pages to the users so we will look at the query parameters to find only the pages are interesting. For our example they are requesting an RSS feed via the url parameter.
      const params = new URLSearchParams(new URL(response.url).search); const urlParam = params.get('url'); if (!urlParam) return; If there is no url query parameter, it’s not interesting so we won’t show it.
      Step 4. Rendering the list
      We have the URLs of the pages now and the raw query parameters but that won’t look very good for users. We can get some better labels to show to users by looking at the cached content itself.
      To get the data out of the response we need to get the text of the response:
      const dataAsString = await response.text(); If your data is stored as JSON then a JSON.parse should be enough to retrieve any interesting information such as a good page title.
      const data = JSON.parse(dataAsString); const title = data.title; For our example website, since it is server side rendered it uses HTML so I will parse the HTML instead, fortunately web browsers are good at HTML parsing. We will turn our raw text into a document fragment which can be queried using the usual DOM methods.
      In this example we read the text in the <title> tag. Other good elements to query would be <h1> or <h2> to get the first header in the document.
      const html = document .createRange() .createContextualFragment(dataAsString); const title = html .querySelector("title") .textContent.trim(); We use this title and the response URL to generate a link we can append to the list element to make a list of pages.
      el.insertAdjacentHTML( "beforeend", `<li><a href="${response.url}">${title}</a></li>` ); Here is a gif of it working, this was recorded with Chrome emulating an offline network connection:

      Thanks for reading and hope this helps.
      View the full blog at its source

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