Web performance has operated under a certain precept for some time: “Faster is Better.”
Shamus McGillicuddy is a Senior Analyst for EMA and is a featured guest blogger.
Online retailers have understood the importance of web application performance for a long time, since back when the Amazon was better known as a river than as an e-commerce giant. Enterprises have been a little slower to catch on. Sooner or later, though, all of them will realize that web performance optimization isn’t just for e-commerce apps anymore.
In the hyper-accelerated world of technology, the modern consumer is bombarded with near-daily news of technological breakthroughs, OS updates, device refreshes and breakneck broadband speeds. With this all comes a reinforcement of expectations for modern webpages to deliver dynamic, rich content on par with high-definition cable programming, delivered just as fast as a user would change a channel from one HD broadcast to another.
As we do every quarter at Radware, we’re releasing a new “state of the union” report – an in-depth snapshot of web performance of the world’s top ecommerce sites.
Traditionally, when we look at web performance, we create a time-series graph that focuses on dimensions like browser or page template. These are all technically-oriented measurements that are collected automatically based on what is readily available. Last year at the Velocity conference, I met Anh-Tuan Gai from WebPerf IO who showed me a more business-oriented approach to visualizing performance data. I found his approach very interesting and asked him to collaborate on sharing the approach for Web Performance Today.
In this post, I’m going to tell the story of how we came to recognize the incredible value of auto-preloading, and how this single technique doesn’t just make individual pages faster — it accelerates a user’s entire flow through a site and ultimately delivers the best possible user experience.
Our latest research into the performance and page composition of top retail sites finds that a typical ecommerce page takes 6.2 seconds to render its primary content, 10.7 seconds to fully load, and weighs in at 1677 KB. Keep reading to find out what this means for site owners who care about delivering the best possible user experience to their customers.
One of the reasons why I love this video is that it does a better job than any other material I've seen (and I've seen a LOT of material) to tell a real-world story of what a page delay feels like in our modern world and how it can throw some unpleasant friction into your day.
*NB: Don't panic. Correlation does not equal causation. More on that later in this post. In our latest quarterly research into the performance of the top 500 ecommerce sites, we found that while 75% of the top 100 websites use a content delivery network, CDN usage doesn't correlate to faster load times. Sites that use a CDN take a full second longer to render primary content than their non-CDN-using counterparts. Today, I want to discuss why these findings aren't as surprising as they sound, what CDNs fix versus what they can't fix, and how site owners can ensure they're covering all their performance bases.
Earlier this week, I had the privilege of speaking at the RWD Summit, alongside awesome folks like Tim Kadlec, Brad Frost, and Jenn Lukas. I presented some of the findings of research we conducted here at Radware about how mobile users engage with ecommerce sites, and how this engagement is affected when pages are slowed down even by marginal amounts.