Popular Posts

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Audience is Watching: Website Availability

A large entertainment media site needed to measure availability, performance and quality of their multimedia streams to ensure their customers were receiving a satisfactory experience.

Streaming is pervasive on news, media and entertainment Web sites. To ensure the quality, reliability and availability of streaming media, Keynote offers the industry’s leading monitoring solution.

Keynote Streaming Perspective™  provides the true picture of your audio and video stream delivery from connect time to rebuffer events. It provides the most effective early warning system to help you resolve media stream performance and availability issues in real-time. 

Keynote Application Perspective™  provides cost-effective website availability monitoring, as well as root cause analysis and diagnostics. Both services use Keynote’s global test and measurement network to represent end-user experience from locations around the world. Together, Streaming Perspective and Application Perspective allow you ensure your systems and content are performing at their very best.

Related Links

1. Can your customer rely on your mobile site?
2. Test Your Site on IE 9 and Measure User Experience
3. Web site monitoring services

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Website Monitoring 101 - Part III

Features of a Good Website Monitoring Service 

This is the final part in the 'Website Monitoring 101' series in which we are going to talk about ‘website monitoring features’ to start looking at how you utilize this.

Advanced Website monitoring services are capable of carrying out multistep Website transactions. They also offer several capabilities through a Website monitoring dashboard to set up tasks in Website monitoring accounts. Website monitoring features include,

  • Complete monitoring and reporting for uptime and performance using user defined Web transactions
  • Real browser-based Website monitoring for the most accurate read on performance
  • Robust alerting mechanisms to deliver trouble notifications to multiple points
  • Complete monitoring to ensure that there are no faults within pages, including examination of referenced objects, SSL certificates, and page content
  • User-friendly transactional monitoring, with the ability to capture each business process
  • Geographically dispersed monitoring locations so that Websites and Web applications using different Internet backbones can be accessed
  • Root-cause analysis of problems when they occur
For maximum control over your site, Website monitoring must be transparent and the measurements it provides must be accurate. Keynote's efficient Website monitoring tools provide total visibility into the performance and functionality of your Website from an end user's perspective.

Related Links
1. Web site performance
2. Web page monitoring
3. Website monitoring software

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Website Monitoring 101 - Part II

This is the second part in the 'Website Monitoring 101' series in which we are going to move away from the basics of ‘website monitoring’ to start looking at how you utilize this.

If you have not done so, it is recommended you read over Website Monitoring 101 - Part I first.

Advantages of Website Monitoring
A Website that is frequently inaccessible is likely to destroy customer loyalty and lose business. Ensuring that all of the elements of a Website are functioning properly is critical to maximizing your company's Web investment. A good vendor offers several advantages:
  • 24x7 monitoring of all key areas of Website and Web applications
  • Quick and accurate notification of problem when it occurs notification
  • Web-based real-time reporting of historical data
  • Easy setup and immediate results, with no software or hardware to maintain
  • Multiple Internet location monitoring for a holistic view of end-to-end connectivity for geographically distributed users
  • An accurate view from the end-user perspective
And just in case you’re wondering what are the features of a good website monitoring services to stand as a big player in the industry, I will start to explain in the next section so that you have a better understanding of what is necessary to work with website monitoring services profitably.
In this part, we have moved beyond looking at the ‘advantages’ widely known aspects of successful website monitoring.

Related Links
1. Website Performance Monitoring
2. Web Page Monitoring
3. Site Monitoring Software

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Website Monitoring 101 - Part1

Welcome to the first part of ‘Website Monitoring 101’ series.
In this post series, we are going to examine all the ins and outs of website monitoring and more importantly, how you can maximize the effectiveness and ultimately the profitability of your website monitoring. Let’s begin by looking at what is website monitoring, how you use it and some of the advantages and disadvantages of doing so.

What Is Website Monitoring?

Website monitoring is the process of testing and verifying that end-users can interact with a Website or Web application from different locations through the day. Website monitoring is used to ensure that sites are live and responding to viewers, to generate trends that show performance over time, and highlight a range of factors that could affect the functionality of a Website. Website monitoring services also help you benchmark your Website against the performance of your competitors to help you determine how well your site is performing.

Keeping your Website performing consistently and available at all times is essential to the success of your online business. Website monitoring helps you ensure that your Website is functioning optimally and is accessible to Internet users every second. From checking Website average load time on a regular basis to alerting you of problems from locations around the world, a good vendor guarantees that your Website functions flawlessly.

Conclusion: In this first ‘What is Website Monitoring’, you have been introduced to why ‘Website Monitoring’ is so effective.

In next posts, we will expand on the information introduced in this first part by looking at some more advanced ‘website monitoring’ strategies, tactics and ideas.

Related Links

Free Website Monitoring

Website Monitoring Software

Web Page Monitoring from end user's perspective

Monday, November 19, 2012

Are you taking advantage of holiday opportunities?

Mobile websites are important for all retailers because they’re far more discoverable than apps, which require a download from an app store.

During the holidays, you may be tempted to collect buyer information. Although this is a common practice in social retail, companies should weigh what’s gained in collecting junk data against the potential loss of real prospects by introducing multiple barriers to consideration of your merchandise.

Be sure to utilize an integrated and branded campaign across multiple platforms to reach as many potential customers as possible during the holiday season. In addition, mobile coupons are on the rise and can be a perfect addition to your mobile strategy this holiday season.

In a recent infographic, Microsoft Tag reported that 20% of smartphone users currently acquire and redeem mobile coupons on a regular basis, with that number expected to grow to 30% by 2013.

Related Articles

1. Its that time of year again - getting ready for the holidays!
2. Can the right mobile optimization trick be a treat for customers?
3. Can your customer rely on your mobile site?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Mobile website or HTML5 app.

HTML5 was heralded as the magic that would allow developers to build websites that would work on any and every platform. While some of that promise has been realized, it’s not proven completely to be the hoped-for panacea. It does generally work well, though not without the need for tweaks to ensure proper functionality across many devices.

HTML5 can be used to make a cross-platform mobile website, or a mobile website that masquerades as an app. Its advantages are that it is cheaper to build; largely cross-platform compatible; easy to update; available through any browser, and therefore discoverable through search; and easier to test than apps.

The downside is HTML5 mobile websites are slower than apps and cannot leverage all of the device’s functionality, such as camera, GPS, etc.

Hybrid. Is it an app or isn’t it? Sometimes only the developer knows for sure. A hybrid app takes an HTML5 website and wraps it in a thin native wrapper. It attempts, with some success, to combine the best of both worlds: the easy updatability of an HTML5 site and some of the speed, offline capabilities, and native functionality of an app. It’s more affordable to build than a fully native app; is distributed through app stores; and requires similar testing to a native app.

Related Links:

App, Website, Or Both?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Don't let your site go dark this holiday season.

Keynote is helping retailers to get ready for the holiday shopping season with a free offer for website monitoring and mobile testing. Retailers, in particular, have no time to waste to prepare for this coming holiday shopping season. Mobile is expected to be responsible for retail site visits during this year's holiday season.

Keynote Web Performance Monitoring allows you to:

  • Obtain accurate, real-time data about your site’s overall performance, speed and availability
  • Measure rich Internet applications and track the performance of third party content on your site
  • Know how your shoppers in New York City, San Francisco and any other city around the world may be experiencing you site

Be sure your site can handle the traffic on Black Friday, Cyber Monday or any other day of the week – 24 / 7/ 365.

Get your 7 days of free website monitoring – today.*

Related Articles:

1. Can your customer rely on your mobile site
2. Free Website monitoring
3. Is your mobile site up to speed for back to school shoppers?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Norway: Google Analytics Violates Privacy

The Norwegian Data Protection Authority announced recently that use of Google Analytics on national government websites is a violation of Norwegian privacy law.

According to PC World, the agency found that Google Analytics collects IP addresses along with certain behavioral information in a manner that makes the website operator unable to control the usage of any data gathered. This inablity to authoritatively control user data was found to be a violation of the privacy policies applied to government websites, and thus a violation of Norwegian privacy law.

While this finding only relates to the use of Google Analytics by certain Norwegian government websites, the agency did not address the privacy compliance implications of usage by privacy organizations. However, website publishers who use Google Analytics to measure website traffic should probably review their privacy policy to ensure that it addresses the ambiguities raised by third party analytics and behavioral monitoring tools.

Source: Keynote

Related Articles

1. Web Privacy Monitoring
2. Web Privacy Tracking
3. Website Privacy Policy Requirements
4. Third Party Cookies
5. Tracking Cookies

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Can your customer rely on your mobile site?

We often talk about speed and optimization, but site reliability is just as important to get your customers to repeatedly visit to your mobile site and build brand loyalty. According to the Keynote Mobility Survey, 48% of smartphone users experienced a problem with loading errors and the inability to open the page.

This can be a frustrating experience for mobile users and a good reason to either not come back or visit your competitors mobile site. 

There are a few standard practices to combat the pitfalls of bad performance, and continuous monitoring & testing is the best way to find out when and where your mobile site is failing. Finding issues before your customers do and fixing them quickly is the key to scoring well in terms of website reliability

Who does reliability right?

Keynote keeps running measurements of mobile websites from several industries on our KeynoteMobile Performance Indices. On any given week we can see different companies at the top of the list for reliability. But if you follow the weekly indices long enough you'll see that the companies that rank best tend to be the same, suggesting a greater attention to mobile website availability. For the week ending September 9th, here's who were on top

Learn more about:

1. Why Web Load Testing?

2. How to monitoring site

3. Free website monitoring 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Is your mobile site up to speed for back to school shoppers?

It’s back to school time, is your site ready to handle the traffic?
Over the past year we've seen quite a few retailers jump on the mobile bandwagon recognizing that mobile shopping is now mainstream. Innovative new social shopping applications like Zoomingo, Wrappand even one launched by Seventeen Magazine, are inspiring a new age of mobile consumers to shop at the tip of their fingers.

According to Keynote Competitive Research’s mobile user survey, 47 percent of smartphone owners use their phones to purchase products and services.The survey also shows that mobile shoppers like their apps, but they like the mobile web even more. Along with the increased number of users shopping on mobile, the tightening of expectations continues when it comes to performance and the user experience.

According to NRF's Back to School Cheat Sheet, 43.8% of U.S. tablet owners will use their tablets to research products and compare prices this season. The survey also found that 28.4% of shoppers with children in grades K-12 will make a purchase with their tablet; slightly more, 34.5%, will purchase college items via their mobile devices.

Considering that 16 percent of mobile users will not return or wait for a website to load if it takes too long  to load and six percent will go to a competitor’s website (Keynote Competitive Research 2012), making sure a site is optimized for mobile is critical for this back-to-school shopping season.
If your mobile site isn't up to speed, here are some basic tips:
  • Considering Data URIs (Universal Resource Identifiers).
  • Lighten the load on your home page with fewer objects and smaller images.
  • Display a clean, simple mobile-friendly user interface. Remove all content a mobile user doesn't need.
  • Optimize your website for the mobile screen following mobile design best practices for better usability and performance.
  • Create a unique site for tablet users. Don't send them to a smartphone or desktop site.
  • Monitor your mobile website's availability around the clock.  Mobile shopping isn't necessarily a Monday - Friday (9am - 5pm) activity.
You don’t want your mobile site to add to the stress of any back to school shopping, so be sure your mobile site is geared up to go.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Filtering Out Web Performance Monitoring Traffic From Google Analytics

If you're a webmaster, site owner, or digital business manager, picture this scenario. You open your Google Analytics dashboard and you see a big spike in traffic. At first, you're really excited - wow, look at all those site visitors! You run off to tell your boss that she can give you that bonus she promised if you got that online marketing campaign to work. And then... you learn that someone in the Site Ops team added web performance monitors, and so it's all so-called robots - synthetic traffic generated for the purpose of keeping tabs on your site's response time and availability.

You think, no problem, I could filter that out from Google Analytics, and then you learn you can't. It's always going to be there, like, forever. You go crazy, emailing the GA team, posting on forums, and then slowly resign yourself to forever dealing with that spike. It will disappear from your default view, maybe after a month, but that's a long month to wait. And heaven forbid if your execs ask you for a site traffic report for the past year, try explaining why you can't filter out that spike - what, you weren't thinking ahead? What kind of guy did we hire to run our online business, anyway?

Don't let this happen to your career. Plan ahead and learn how to use Google Analytics to filter out all web performance monitors from your site analytics reports. Here's the link: http://blogs.keynote.com/the_watch/2012/08/filtering-out-web-performance-monitoring-traffic-from-google-analytics.html

Monday, August 6, 2012

Monitoring the 340 Trillion Trillion Trillion: Keynote and IPv6

The Keynote Systems’ Startup Shootout Index provides some insight into the three-screen challenge now facing anyone with a web presence. It shows a website's weekly average load time and download success rate (availability) on desktops, smartphones, and tablets. Let's take a look at mobile gaming, but the lessons here apply to any web sites optimizing – or not optimizing – for three screens.

The growth of mobile games is inevitable with the growth of mobile devices that enable them including feature phones, smartphones, tablets and even e-Readers. Adverse to many websites, mobile is a main focus for mobile gaming companies like Rovio.

While their desktop load speed leaves something to be desired, Rovio is the fastest social gaming site on the iPad and second fastest on the iPhone (with a speed of seven seconds). Rovio improved their site by redirecting iPad and iPhone users to a lighter, mobile optimized site

Papaya Mobile is another mobile gaming site, loading at a blazing 2.58 seconds on the iPhone, leveraging best practices and simply requiring a login screen as the first step to access the site. The login screen loads very quickly because of its simplicity, a great way to get your gamers on the site efficiently with minimal wait.
While most mobile gaming sites focus on their mobile speed and reliability to retain their loyal customers. Crowdsart has managed to integrate the best of mobile and desktop performance and reliability.

Crowdstar has arguably the best overall performance in the July Startup Shootout for mobile games, with a better than average desktop load speeds and 6.97 seconds to load on the smartphone. What is remarkable about the smartphone loading time is that Crowdstar brings the entire site to iPhone users, rather than offering bits of content to speed mobile interaction. If they optimized their site even further for mobile, they have the ability to achieve even faster speeds. The response time for iPad users is better than average and may end up being tolerable when connected over Wi-Fi instead of the 3G network.

Although Rovio and Papaya charge forward for quick mobile speeds to target their main demographics, leveraging best practices and monitoring slight changes in website development can give many developers the ability to optimize a better overall experience over all three screens.

Related Articles:

A Three-Screen Perspective From The World’s Largest Retailer

Magazines on smartphones: convenient but not quick

Thursday, July 19, 2012

What can you do to make sure your site is mobile ready?

Mobile technology is increasingly becoming the avenue for disseminating news and information during emergencies. According to a recent Pew study, 95% of Millennials own a cell phone, but only 57% own a desktop computer. How do you think they stayed connected? Companies whose businesses are impacted by disasters should keep this in mind when developing their sites to ensure that they are also mobile ready.

So what can you do to make sure your site is mobile ready?

  • Monitor your site regularly to determine fluctuations in performance. With regular monitoring you can identify key areas where your mobile site isn't holding up in terms of speed and reliability.  You don't know when a natural disaster will strike. If it happens and users aren't sitting at their desk, chances are that they'll be reaching for their smartphone. Under normal conditions it's not uncommon to see increases in mobile traffic outside of traditional working hours.  During an emergency or big news story, that percentage can grow quite a bit.
  • Load test your site to make sure it can handle certain amounts of traffic, especially for uncertain conditions. Let's say that your website is well-built, like a brick house (as opposed to straw or sticks), at some level of visitor traffic it will come down. It's important that you know that breaking point so that you can be prepared for all but the unlikeliest of scenarios.  When a Category 5 storm hits, resulting in a flood of hits to your mobile website, don't leave your visitors in the dark because your server can't handle the load.

 These are basic recommendations for any company with a mobile website.  But for a company providing news and information to an increasingly mobile population, they should be standard practice.

Related Articles:

  1. Monitoring User Experience of the Cloud
  2. Enhance Web Performance with Best practices
  3. Website Performance: More Than Just Speed
  4. The impact of web load testing on performance

Friday, July 6, 2012

What do AdSense, Friend Connect, and Tribal Fusion have in common?

AdSense, Friend Connect, and Tribal Fusion, all three of these services were demonstrated by Google researchers to impact Website performance by double-digit percentages.

They are not alone, of course, but representative of the kinds of things that can create bloat on a Website and degrade user experience.

Of course 1 person's bloat is another person's manna so the best thing to do is;
1) find out what 3rd party content is featured on your site and,
2) keep watch on how these 3rd party services are performing.

As Web operations teams well know, knowing is half the battle and in no case do you want to be caught flat-footed, without knowledge of what's happening on the Website you are responsible for.

Keynote(The Mobile and Internet Performance Authority) has made the job easy of tracking performance for 3rd party content easier for your Website. It's called Virtual Pages and it works just like the other Web performance monitoring services you've come to rely on from us.

Related Articles: 

Friday, June 22, 2012

10 Tips to Improve User Experience of your site

Hi. My name is Ben, and I plan to visit your website a lot! I’m a casual user that likes to browse the Internet, and like everyone else I know, I hate to wait. Although your website is really cool, and I love your products and services, the Internet is full of interesting places and I’m easily distracted. Oh, and did I mention that I love using my Android smartphone and iPad to play, connect, shop, bank and book travel when I’m not at work? All I want for the holidays is a speedy web and mobile site.
Here are top 10 wishes of a user for you and your site in 2012:
  1. Please test your code/site on IE and not just Firefox before you launch it. I am one of the 50% that will continue using IE, even after they start auto-upgrades!
  2. Understand the difference between browser execution and network/back-end performance. Most pages have both and you need to know which is which to optimize the page/site. One way is to monitor using a real browser.
  3. Understand how your page renders. Focus on reducing upfront (pre-render) delay. It’s the one me and your other users feel the most!
  4. Please make sure your third party tags (analytics and others) are below your visual content. (Did I mention rendering delays and blocks are aggravating?)
  5. Please combine your external JS and CSS files. I’ve been saying this for years, but very few sites seem to follow this recommendation. Do it, and I’ll see a major improvement in the speed of your site.
  6. Understand the quality your Content Delivery Network is providing. Every website is unique, and not all CDN providers are created equal.
  7. Don’t worry so much about overall page size but instead focus on individual file/resource sizes. Keep them under 100K and you will limit the impact of slower connections. (Did I mention I love my smartphone?)
  8. Don’t just push your desktop website to mobile. You will fail.
  9. Test your mobile web site… please!
  10. Read Keynote’s Page Construction Guidelines. They’re chocked full of goodies to help you optimize the performance your Web pages and keep visitors like me happily clicking through them, instead of away to your competitor’s site.
What’s on your wish list for better web and mobile performance in 2012? Let us know in comments!

Relate Articles:

Monday, June 11, 2012

Test Your Site on IE 9 and Measure User Experience

Few months back, Keynote announced that the Keynote Global Network was being updated with Internet Explorer 9. As a result, our real browser monitoring service, Transaction Perspective™, is now measuring the performance of Web applications and sites using Microsoft’s latest Web browser. This makes Keynote the first on-demand monitoring service built on IE 9, which is pretty cool. But what’s even cooler is the ability that IE 9 gives us to measure a new class of performance metrics we call user experience metrics.
IE is still the big kid on the block when it comes to browser usage. With the demise of IE 6 in the United States, and the rise of Firefox and Chrome, it’s clear that users are quickly leaving “old” browsers for “modern” ones like IE 9. With high performance and broad support for open Web standards, browsers like IE 9 make it easier for companies to create a rich and snappy experience for consumers. In response, 34% of the top Internet sites now use HTML 5, and the use of JavaScript continues to rise. Transaction Perspective built on IE 9 allows customers to get a more precise view of their site performance, especially those leveraging new Web standards.
Our new Live Beta preview of MyKeynote 11 with Transaction Perspective lets you see performance in very important ways Learn More

Monday, May 28, 2012

Speed and Tenacity: the Apple iPad Outage

We’ve heard a lot recently about the importance of speed and performance when it comes to online retail. The New York Times highlighted research from Microsoft claiming that 250 milliseconds—a mere eye blink—could make the difference between a repeat visitor and a lost customer. And a popular infographic touts that Amazon would stand to lose $1.6 billion in sales per year from a 1 second web page delay. Our friends at Walmart.com have also shared some awesome research linking web performance to conversion.

These statistics are welcome news for the web performance community. But sometimes they don’t apply. With Apple, a lot of rules don’t apply.

To Apple’s credit, the Apple store normally runs very quickly—averaging well less than 2 seconds for total User Experience Time and less a second for Time to First Paint. (The Apple Store is a member of the Keynote Retail Performance Index, measured with Keynote Transaction Perspective.)

Your product/service is unique. And your customers are also unique. Keynote web load testing consultants dig into web analytics to model user behavior. They consider familiarity, tenacity, interaction speed and connection speed when developing virtual user profiles. It may be unrealistic for you to understand how different levels of performance impact your various customer types across all these variables. But if you can begin to understand them, you’ll be in a better position for setting ongoing performance goals and SLAs—especially around tolerances for outliers from your averages.

Source: Keynote Systems

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monitoring User Experience of the Cloud

In this blog, we are going to talk about metrics to build into service level agreements and learn how to track the quality of service users of SaaS and cloud applications actually experience.

Q&A With Vik Chaudhary, VP of Product Management and Corporate Development, Keynote Systems

Phil Waineright: I’m glad to have you with us because your — Keynote — is a SaaS provider itself, but you also actually work with SaaS and cloud companies who make use of your services, don’t you?

Vik Chaudhary: That’s right. In fact we do both. We started out as a cloud company and a SaaS company, well before those words were even invented, back 14 years ago. And today, we work with about 2800 different companies all over the world; SaaS companies are among them.

Phil Waineright: Right. So okay. So this part of the business is serving traditional enterprise businesses but part — a growing part I suppose of the business — is serving the cloud vendor community of one type or another.

Vik Chaudhary: As it turns out, the cloud vendor community is — especially in the SaaS world — is growing to include businesses that are using SaaS vendors very effectively. And because businesses typically care about their online performance and customer experience, they happen to look to us to help moderate the conversation between them and the SaaS providers so we can assure that performance and reliability of their applications are really top-notch.

Continue reading

Monday, April 30, 2012

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

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

A Conversation with Mobile Performance Evangelist Herman Ng

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. And 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.

Benchmark: What is your assessment of the current state of website performance on tablets?

Herman Ng: There’s no one score to give across the board. Everybody’s at a different level, because everybody is doing different things. Some people are doing their regular sites, some are doing a tablet site. Some are just serving the mobile website performance, and there are some companies redirecting the user to use the mobile app. Overall, performance is just all over the place. There are so many tablets coming out — the iPad and some of the Androids are, of course, the mainstream, but there are so many different versions. And then you have 3G and Wi-Fi, and now the iPad’s LTE. So even the same site is going to be performing differently across different connections and devices.

Continue reading

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Measuring Site Speed with Navigation Timing

What makes great user experience? Users’ thirst for speed seems increasingly unquenchable. Even as they (barely) tolerate the sluggish performance of mobile devices, they demand more and more of their PCs. Make them wait one blink of an eye too long, and they are gone, taking the revenue they would generate with them.

In 2010, The World Wide Web Consortium chartered a Web Performance Working Group to give developers client-side tools, in the browsers, to gain greater visibility into the timing of each aspect of page loading and help them see how they can make their pages faster. The first product of the working group is the Navigation Timing API, which Keynote is already leveraging to provide more granular site performance reporting and to provide operations managers and developers a common language to address site improvements.

If you want the complete picture on the user experience, read an interview with Microsoft IE Program Manager Jatinder Mann a Microsoft IE Program Manager Jatinder Mann lives and breathes performance, both on the Internet Explorer team and on the W3C Web Performance Working Group, and is an expert on the Navigation Timing API. Benchmark recently caught up with him to get an overview of the Navigation Timing API and other initiatives and what they offer the Web community.

Source; Keynote System.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Measuring site performance over an actual cellular network

As fundamental as it may seem, many site owners don’t alter their approach at all when tackling a mobile site project. Call it “desktop thinking,” or terrestrial, landline, wireline thinking — by any name, it ignores the fundamental reality of the cellular network, which as described above, is inherently slower and riddled with opportunities for performance degradation.

One common desktop tactic that causes issues in mobile is the URL redirect, which instructs the browser to follow a different URL than the one originally requested. There are a number of legitimate reasons to employ this technique — to direct users to your third-party site host; to offer nicknames that provide multiple paths to the main site; or to send users to a site designed specifically for the detected browser.

This is generally a fine practice in the desktop browser world, where redirects usually happen in the blink of an eye and are virtually undetectable to the user. Use the same technique on a mobile site, though, where the big “L” — latency — colors the entire experience, and you end up with users staring and staring at a screen where nothing’s happening.

Surprisingly, even some of the biggest retailers have mobile sites bogged down with URL redirects. The problems become apparent when measuring site performance over an actual cellular network (as opposed to a WiFi connection).

At what point does the user come to the conclusion that the site’s not working, or that it’s not worth the wait? If they’ve just navigated from a well-built mobile site that loaded quickly, there’s a good chance they’re not going to wait eight seconds. How likely is it that they’ll come back again? How likely they’ll tell their friends about the experience? Forget what that means in terms of a lost sale. What does it mean for retailer X’s brand image?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

App, Website, Or Both?

There’s no silver bullet for getting content successfully onto three screens, no switch that can be thrown to make content fast and usable. On smartphones and now tablets, site owners are juggling some combination of Mobile site optimization, Web app and native app; except for those who are doing nothing at all, and effectively writing off what is soon to be online’s biggest audience.
Whatever the approach, any serious mobile strategy requires effort and investment. Native apps need to be developed separately for multiple platforms, at minimum iOS and Android, for both smartphone and tablet — that’s virtually four apps, for starters.
HTML5 Web apps theoretically simplify the development task, in as much as one app should function acceptably on multiple phones. But a big tweak is required for tablets, to take advantage of the format and deliver a native-like experience.
Still another approach is to build separate, mobile-optimized sites for smartphones and tablets, streamlined for fast loading and usability, but not offering the capability of offline viewing.
Read More

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"Performance" to cloud providers typically means only availability

One reason cloud performance monitoring is so critical is that cloud provider service is so nebulous. "Performance" to cloud providers typically means only availability; and even availability is only loosely guaranteed. For Amazon Web Services, as an example, unavailability means no connectivity at all during a five-minute period; if your user has a lousy, erratic, miserably slow connection, as far as Amazon is concerned, they've delivered. And availability means availability when it leaves Amazon's door; whether or not anything actually reaches your user is not Amazon's problem (regardless of their choices for ISP and connectivity). Oh, and the burden of proof is on you, the customer. For all intents and purposes, Amazon is not even checking to see if you even have service.

This is not to dump solely on Amazon. The same guarantees, or lack thereof, are typical of many cloud providers. In addition to the caveats above, scheduled and emergency downtime is excluded from availability guarantees; penalties for unavailability are minimal, and certainly not commensurate with potential business damages; and any other kind of performance is not included in the service level agreement.

An ideal cloud-client working relationship includes substantial SLAs, external monitoring of SLA parameters that is visible to both provider and client, and meaningful recourse if the service falls short. In lieu of this ideal, however, the onus is on the enterprise to put cloud monitoring and measurement in place and to hold their provider accountable – so they can either get the service level they need, or switch to a better provider.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Elephant In The Cloud: Performance

For all of its tremendous potential, there’s one thing that will make or break the SaaS model both for vendors and users: Web Performance. No longer is technology contained within the walls of the enterprise, running on its own proven network, controlled closely by its own IT department. Now, the nerve center of the enterprise, the productivity of workers, the integrity of information assets is controlled by an outside entity, flows through the various pipes from a remote data center over the Internet into the enterprise’s network and ultimately, into a browser. And that presents challenges both for performance and user experience.

The problem with the browser being the front-end for SaaS applications is that users have very clear expectations of a browser experience, based on their use of the Web. Users go to a site and expect it to load fast — in two seconds or less. They don’t like to wait, and won’t. Google says that for every additional 500ms of delay, the site loses 20 percent of its traffic. With fast broadband and wireless connections everywhere, users expect blazing speed when they fire up their browser.

Read More http://keynote.com/benchmark/SaaS/article_industry_focus_cloudy_applications.shtml

Tablet Problem? Or Tablet Opportunity?

Yes, it’s another form factor, and more operating system permutations, still more network connection considerations, and additional development expense. But tablets could actually be a bright spot for content owners looking to attract audience and advertising dollars.

This past holiday season, iPad users showed themselves to be valuable customers, buying more and spending more than other mobile shoppers. And a number of studies indicate that tablet users are avid content consumers as well.

More than three-quarters of tablet owners use their device every day, on average for 90 minutes. More than half use it daily to get their news, and many now spend more time on news than they did pre-tablet. In fact, the only thing they’re more likely to use their tablets for than news is to browse the Web.

These numbers are likely skewed, as most current tablet owners have pricey iPads; they tend to be higher-income, better educated, often middle-aged consumers. As the market expands down to lower-priced Kindle Fires and others, tablet demographics will likewise gravitate toward a more mass consumer profile.

Read More: http://keynote.com/benchmark/SaaS/article_three_screen_optimization.shtml

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mobile Web: Load Testing and Ongoing Performance Monitoring

Many retailers are making efforts to enable genuine mobile commerce, as opposed to trying to drive traffic from mobile to other channels to complete the transaction. And many are bringing their mobile development efforts in-house, after testing the waters with a third-party solution. Both of these scenarios involve significant risk, making it all the more imperative to perform robust load testing and ongoing performance monitoring.

The big challenge that mobile sites face that’s different than the desktop Web — in addition to the inherent slowness of over-the-air (OTA) signals — is the plethora of devices, operating systems, and carriers. A mobilesite or app has to be vetted in all the major configurations that ultimately control what is displayed in the user’s hands.

Any outage or excessive slowness during peak holiday periods can inflict serious pain on a retailer’s bottom line, whether the retailer is big or small, online-only or hybrid. The only way to make sure a website can handle an extraordinary rush of traffic is to thoroughly test it well in advance and every time changes are made. The most solid test regimens subject a site to traffic that’s multiples of the highest demand projected by the sales and marketing department.

Read More

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Real tests use real devices

It's not that testing with real devices is the gold standard, though that's one way to look at it. The fact is, there is simply no way to emulate the behavior of a mobile app in the field unless the device is literally in the field. System overhead, memory usage, CPU speed — a host of variables impact app functionality in ways that just can't be reproduced in a lab. To get real test results, you have to deploy real devices.

But creating an internal test program using real devices is a challenge. The devices have to be bought, carrier contracts have to be established, test scripts created, users trained, results compiled and analyzed — for each geographic market. And then the devices and contracts have to be dealt with after the testing is done, or maintained for ongoing monitoring.

This complexity is why so many enterprises use an outside test partner that offers an established infrastructure with hundreds or thousands of devices deployed over a broad geography. The test provider works with the client company to develop the necessary scripts, and then leases time to them on its network to run the tests. This is testing in the "public cloud," which means that many clients utilize the same devices and infrastructure to conduct their tests. It's an ideal solution for most companies — there's no upfront capital expenditure and tests can be quickly executed on demand, on a budget-friendly pay-per-use basis.

Source: http://keynote.com/benchmark/mobile_wireless/article_mobile_app_performance.shtml