In addition to evaluating customer experience on a subjective level, the Keynote research assessed seven factors related to the site’s service levels:
- High-Speed Response
- Dial-up Response
- Response Time Consistency
- Geographic Uniformity
- Load Handling
- Outage Hours
Three Bottlenecks That Block Traffic
Too many technical elements on a page: From small non-visual images to java scripts to unnecessary encryption, too many individual elements on a page can stifle performance
Java overload: The ubiquitous coding language is an important tool for developers, but every Java script can act like a tiny speed bump for browsers.
Proliferation of third-party tags: The rising number of third-party tags – DoubleClick ads and calls to third-party analytics services – can also hinder performance.
Mobile internet is another high-potential area for this market. Although the ability to book a car wirelessly has been around since about 2000, it’s still very much gaining traction. Mobile, of course, presents a whole new set of challenges for rental companies in terms of maintaining a positive user experience. Operating on a tiny screen will demand even more technical efficiency and optimization. But the opportunity is a great one, particularly for capturing busy business travelers on the go.
The app has been put through its paces, revised and retested over and over, and now every effort to break it simply fails. Break out the champagne, it’s ready for release — but don’t celebrate too long. Because no app is ever ready to be left all on its own.
With websites, apps, basically anything in the online world, things can and will go wrong. There could be overload issues (because your app is so popular!), server issues somewhere in your network, unexpected usage patterns. Any number of things can dull the sparkle of your shiny new app today, tomorrow or six months from now. Constant vigilance is the key to happy users and a successful app.
That solution is monitoring. Perhaps not surprisingly, some of the same best practices for testing also apply to monitoring performance and availability, most notably, using real devices in real-life scenarios. How and what you monitor, though, is somewhat different from what you tested in the development phase.
Monitoring offers a similar public/private cloud choice as described above for testing. Keynote, for example, has a well-established infrastructure with a broad array of devices on different carriers in multiple locations around the world. An app owner can use this network for ongoing scheduled monitoring. Or, if security is a concern or if volume justifies it, Keynote will build a private cloud network with the devices and in the markets that matter most to the app owner. And with a private cloud, you have the luxury of doing more troubleshooting than you could do in a shared public environment, because you own all of the time on the devices. You can pause the application and monitoring script and interact with the app to see exactly what the end user sees and find out exactly what’s causing a problem.
Public or private, the key to an effective monitoring program is to find out quickly about problems before they become crises.
Traditionally, web performance measurement efforts have focused on download times as the key metric as content was the focus for customers. As Web 2.0 applications added collaboration and social networking features, there is a supply of user generated content. To ensure the quality of user experience, there is a necessity to measure and report upload performance.
Some of the things that need to be considered separately from that of web application content are streamed audio and video. This is because the delivery infrastructure and the internet protocols it uses are different. There need to be dedicated streaming agents that can measure the customer experience for applications having streamed content as a significant component.
A growing trend for companies is to create mobile versions of web applications to support the growing hand-held device community. Due to the plat form and content differences involved, the mobile application performance testing and monitoring must be tracked and managed separately from that of web users.