Web Monitoring

Web Site Monitoring and Performance Insights

The Evolution of the Web Page

The Web was originally intended to help researchers share documents as static pages of linked text formatted in HTML. From there, Web pages quickly evolved to include complex structures of text and graphics, with plug-in programs to play audio and video files or to stream multimedia content.

Web developers supplement the basic browser function of rendering HTML by invoking code (scripts) on the user’s computer (the client).

These scripts can create interface elements such as rollover effects, custom pull-down menus, and other navigation aids. They can also execute UI methods, for example, to validate a user’s input in an HTML form. These script capabilities, while they enhance a user’s interaction with individual Web pages, do not change the fundamental model in which application logic runs on the server and executes between Web pages after the user clicks. This behavior is said to be synchronous, that is, after each click the user waits while the server handles the input and the browser downloads a response page.

In e-commerce, a typical user interaction involves a series of Web pages, which represent steps in a larger process that comprise a Web application

You may also would like to see:

1. Web Page Monitoring

2. Web Performance Monitoring Just Got More Better

3. A New Approach to Gathering User Experience Data

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December 2, 2013 Posted by | Rich Internet Applications | , | Leave a comment

Web Audience That Prefers To Watch Rather Than Read.

You can’t have a media site without video, and apparently, if a little video is good, a lot of video is better. It’s the heart and soul of entertainment sites. It’s de rigueur for the broadcast news networks.

And the Web has given traditional print journalism brands the opportunity to compete on broadcast journalism’s video turf. New technology has made it almost as easy to shoot, edit and post a video online as to prepare a written story with accompanying photos. Online media sites, with help from YouTube, have enabled a mass Web audience that prefers to watch rather than read.

There’s also no faster way to lose an audience than with a video stream that stutters and constantly stops to rebuffer. But again, monitoring streams from multiple servers or domains, and understanding actual end-user performance, is a significant test and measurement challenge.

 

Related Posts;

1. What can you do to make sure your site is ready

2. Website Media Availability Monitoring

3. Mobile Browser Compatibility

 

February 11, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Reading the Privacy Policies You Encounter in a Year Would Take 76 Days

In preparing for a research study that Keynote is undertaking to look at User Experience and Mobile Privacy, I ran across a piece posted on The Atlantic website discussing the challenge of effective privacy disclosures:

One simple answer to our privacy problems would be if everyone became maximally informed about how much data was being kept and sold about them. Logically, to do so, you’d have to read all the privacy policies on the websites you visit. A few years ago, two researchers, both then at Carnegie Mellon, decided to calculate how much time it would take to actually read every privacy policy you should.

After calculating the length and complexity of the documents, renowned privacy researcher Lorrie Cranor and her colleague Aleecia McDonald determined that if you stopped to read the privacy policies of every web site that the average user visits during the course of their online travels, it would take an average of 76 days!

In looking more deeply at this issue, it’s clear that delivering effective disclosures to consumers is hard, with yet more complications arising when you factor in the prevalence of mobile devices. Despite high resolution screens, it can still be difficult to read detailed and lengthy documents on small form-factor devices. Yet the disclosures are even more essential when you figure the ways in which mobile apps are increasingly leveraging your private information, location information, mobile payments activities, and social networking connections.

Here at Keynote, we’re leveraging our market-leading expertise in user experience and performance monitoring to look at how companies can improve transparency and deliver great mobile experiences that fit into consumers’ expectations at all levels. Stay tuned for the results of our Mobile Privacy research project, which we hope to unveil at the FTC Mobile Privacy Disclosures workshop later this month. And we promise… it won’t take 76 days to read our findings!

Related Links:

The challenge of keeping up with customers on the go

Web Performance, More than just Speed

 

October 3, 2012 Posted by | Internet Privacy Policy | , , , | Leave a comment

The challenge of keeping up with customers on the go

Recent web traffic analysis shows that many Social Retailers are getting an enormous amount of traffic from mobile devices.  In the case of LivingSocial, they’re getting more traffic from mobile than the desktop.  Breaking down mobile traffic between the apps and the mobile web, the web is preferred over apps nearly two-fold.  This affinity of LivingSocial users for mobile websites is in line with general mobile retail shopping preference finding revealed in a recent Keynote Mobile Study.

So it would stand to reason that LivingSocial is doing everything possible to maximize the performance of their websites on mobile devices (smartphones and tablets).  Yet, looking at results in the Keynote Startup 3-Screen Index, their performance isn’t where you’d hope it would be.  On tablets the 43.9 second average response time of their site is downright painful, faring far worse than the average startup.

But the mobile challenge LivingSocial faces is ones other companies would love to have.  Their customers and prospects are actively seeking them out on mobile devices and with a few improvements, the company can quickly improve the mobile user experience. For smartphone users they’re delivering a clean, simple website designed in accordance to many mobile best practices.  However with 300 KB of content it is on the heavy side.  Trimming down the size of the site delivering fewer and lighter content could lead to faster downloads.

But the big question is: Why such is the site so slow for the iPad user?  Firstly, they’re delivering up to 2 MB of content with over 150 elements.  They aren’t consistently combining Cascading Style Sheets or JavaScript, have over-sized images and aren’t following other W3C best practices. 

Worse yet, they make the iPad user go through a 3 step registration process that isn’t required of smartphone users.  Mobile websites are important for all retailers because they’re far more discoverable than apps which require a download from an app store.  Three additional steps needed to get to a home page increases the likelihood of user abandonment.  Requiring upfront registration and collecting information is very common in Social Retail. But if fake information will get you to the destination, companies should weigh what’s gained in collecting junk data against the potential loss of real prospects.

Related Articles:

1. At what costs do mobile gaming sites stay competitive on performance?

2. Fast, Fun & Touch-Friendly: The New Rules For Tablet Websites

3. Web Performance, More than just Speed

September 3, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fast, Fun & Touch-Friendly: The New Rules For Tablet Websites

In the post-PC era, tablets are taking on a central role in connecting consumer and business users with their online worlds. But touch-based tablets present an entirely different interface from the point-and-click paradigm of the desk- or laptop-bound Web.

Tablet users on the go are frequently stymied by the inherent sluggishness of cellular network connections. It’s not an impossible task, though, to create tablet website experiences that satisfy user expectations and, with a little effort, leverage the tablet interface.

Benchmark recently sat down with Keynote Mobile Performance Evangelist Herman Ng to get his insight into the tablet website experience, and get a few pointers on how to make it better.

 

A Conversation with Mobile Performance Evangelist Herman Ng

April 24, 2012 Posted by | web performance, Web Performance Testing, Website Performance, Website Performance Monitoring | , , , , , | Leave a comment

External Monitoring on how each page element is performing

You can control the construction of the page itself — adhering to best practices for placement of JavaScript, ad calls, tags, etc. on the page, and  load testing to make sure everything is loading quickly and smoothly, and that no elements are causing hang-ups or delays. The goal is to make sure pages perform flawlessly before any outside content hits them.

Unfortunately, this is where many site owners stop. The site goes into production, and from behind the firewall, everything appears to be snappy. There’s no reason users should be anything short of delighted. But unless the site is monitored out on the Web with all third-party content being fed, using a real browser just as a user would, there’s no way to tell that everything is working and that pages are loading in an acceptable timeframe.

Business people love data, and as indicated earlier, the use of tracking tags on Web pages has simply exploded. Not surprisingly, more tags equals more performance management challenges, particularly since multiple vendors are usually involved, presenting multiple opportunities for glitches.

Multi-sourced content is here to stay — businesses need it, and users want the end result. Content can be tamed and made to perform well by consistently, continuously following these best practices:

  1. Be sure your site is architected properly so that third-party content will have minimal impact on page load times — four seconds is the magic number, beyond with users abandon your site in droves.
  2. Scrutinize every third-party component to be sure it’s absolutely necessary; pare down the elements to only those needed to satisfy your site’s business and revenue objectives.
  3. Monitor the performance of each page component continuously, from the field with real browsers just as users would experience your site; when web performance issues come up, invoke your SLAs, negotiate a fix with the vendor, or lose the problem component.
  4. Practice good site hygiene — clean up unused tags on a regular basis.

Source: http://www.keynote.com/benchmark/new_media/article_third_party_performance.shtml

April 4, 2012 Posted by | Web Load Testing, web performance | , , , | Leave a comment

Next Generation of Performance Management

Operations teams have long used this information to tune their websites and correct web performance issues. But collaborating with developers on problems impacting user experience was more difficult.

Now operations teams can monitor website, measure, and parse page performance in a way that offers a far more telling picture of user experience–information that’s both actionable to developers, and of concern to business owners.

To give business owners this insight, Keynote in Transaction Perspective 11 leverages Navigation Timing to measure distinct phases of User Experience:

Time to First Paint: When the user sees something happening on the screen; the site has begun to render in response to their request. This critical first step tells the user that the site is responding to their action.

Time to Full Screen: When most users would perceive their browser space is filled above the fold; rendering may still be happening out of sight, but from the user’s perspective, they’re looking at a full page.

User Experience Time: The total elapsed time the page took to complete. The browser is done with the page and is now waiting for and responding to additional user input. This is analogous to the standard page load time or user time; it can also be used to measure a complete multi-page transaction.

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March 27, 2012 Posted by | website monitoring | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to gain actionable data to demand better performance?

Site owners are more pressured than ever to deliver the fast, flawless experiences users now demand, and can often find at a competitor’s site. Monitoring and measuring their web performance is no longer the simple task of measuring overall page load time. There’s really nothing a webmaster can do with the information that the site is running slow. Is it their own content? The CDN that’s pushing out their videos? The sister site that’s hosting their image library? The Flash banner promoting upcoming programming on their TV network? Or the ad network servers that supply the bulk of the site’s revenue? Web load testing can help but,  How does the site owner identify the bottlenecks, and gain actionable data to demand better performance from weak providers in the content chain?

New technology has made it almost as easy to shoot, edit and post a video online as to prepare a written story with accompanying photos. Online media sites, with help from YouTube, have enabled a mass Web audience that prefers to watch rather than read.

There’s also no faster way to lose an audience than with a video stream that stutters and constantly stops to rebuffer. But again, monitoring streams from multiple servers or domains, and understanding actual end-user performance, is a significant test and measurement challenge.

Read More

February 29, 2012 Posted by | website monitoring | , , , | Leave a comment

A System to Monitor the Everywhere Web

It may seem like a lot to worry about, but by following a performance monitoring strategy that keeps up with new devices and Web services accessed by these devices, you can turn this challenge into a competitive strength for your business.

The place to start is with benchmarks to establish online performance goals for all your online sites that can then be monitored, measured and improved over time. The needs of broadband and mobile users are quite different, so you should be benchmarking both types. Broadband sites include far more graphics and audio-hungry features, because there is speed to spare to deliver them. Mobile sites are usually pared down to get out just the basic information to customers, while cutting out the flashy extras due to mobile bandwidth and screen size limitations.

In addition, your monitoring should emulate the kinds of devices and Internet access services your customers are using so you can get real-time data on the performance they are experiencing first-hand. For example, if iPhones and Android devices via the AT&T and Verizon Wireless are the mobile devices and services of choice for your customers, those are the key things you should be monitoring to be sure your sites are serving them well.

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November 22, 2011 Posted by | website monitoring, Website Performance | , , , | Leave a comment

Web Performance Measurement: Measuring what users experience

Just a few years ago, when broadband envy was a common condition and DSL was considered high-speed, testing Web site performance was largely an internal affair. Follow basic best practices in building the site, make sure the servers were up and the pipes open, and you were ready for business. Consumers coming off the painful slowness of dial-up had far lower expectations and far greater patience.

But that all seems like such a long time ago. While the U.S., at 60 percent broadband penetration, ranks 20th (!) globally (far behind South Korea’s 95 percent), a solid majority of U.S. users now have fast connections.x They’re paying for speed, and they expect sites to be fast. Add in rich functionality, video, Flash, etc., and you’re looking at an experience made or broken by site performance — performance that can no longer be effectively measured from the inside out.

Believe it or not, some major U.S. retailers still do not have an organized regimen for external testing of their sites, or for determining if they can handle a heavy surge in holiday traffic.

In the broadest sense, testing falls into two categories: ongoing evaluation and tweaking to optimize daily performance, and peak load testing to determine overall site capacity and potential breakpoints.

In either case, the only way to quantify user experience is to measure what users are actually experiencing. Unless you’re the local bike shop serving only your immediate area, the testing needs to be done across a wide geography and multiple backbones. And it needs to use an actual Web browser, and go through the same type of page view sequences and transactions as a typical user would. There’s simply no other way to get a true perspective on what users are really experiencing.

Source: http://keynote.com/benchmark/online_retail/christmas_article.shtml

October 4, 2011 Posted by | Web Load Testing, Website Performance | , , , , | Leave a comment