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How Sequencing Content Engages Users

A successful modern web app must deliver a rich and personalized experience to the end user. To meet demand, apps have become feature heavy, with components like JavaScript widgets, social add-ons and multimedia elements. However, these same components can also slow app performance, even block rendering, all while users expect apps to arrive at their fingertips with lightning speed.

How can businesses manage to deliver large, complex web apps to users in a timely and efficient fashion? The answer: sequence content.

Let?s use a simple analogy:

Think of a web app as a large package made up of multiple components (page assets). The contents of the package need to make it from one end of a busy city to the other – you need a delivery plan.

Your delivery options:

  • Send with a truck. A truck will carry the entire package. Everything that could possibly be needed or used is sent, all at once. But trucks are slow to navigate traffic-clogged streets.
  • Use speedy bike messengers. A faster alternative. Speedy bike messengers can be dispatched to deliver specific package components as requested. The key is to understand the recipient’s needs right away. When the recipient recieves the first package from the messenger they can begin to use those components immediately. Then, within that small lag time, the remaining components will arrive in sequence, ready for use.

This analogy represents the basic idea behind sequencing application content. Clearly, option two is much better. It smartly sends the minimal amount of content needed because lighter packages travel much faster.

User Perception Drives Engagement

Application sequencing, when properly leveraged, accelerates initial engagement with the end user. The content needed to begin user engagement is sent first. This initial content displays almost immediately and establishes a sense of involvement with the user. Without sequencing, the bulk of a bloated app will cause long load times, delaying initial engagement and frustrating the user.

After initial engagement, subsequent content is sequenced to maintain flow and hold user interest as they navigate an application. The user actually perceives that the application is faster than it truly is as content arrives in a smartly staggered manner.

Modern App Delivery Requires Sequencing

Years ago, companies utilized legacy CDN technology and standalone front end optimization (FEO) solutions to manage user engagement. In a deskstop-dominated world, this strategy worked well because user contexts were static. Today, however, users are mobile and the challenge of cross-context optimization cannot be conquered with outdated technology.

Lazy loading has been used by developers to sequence content for some time. This tactic defers loading an object until it is needed, often a large asset like an image that could hang-up page performance. A modern content sequencing strategy engages users through an expansion and automation of this concept. It is holistic approach that first understands the context of each unique user and then sequences only the content that is needed.

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