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Overstock.com Shares Best Practices for Balancing User Experience with Site Speed

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Online retailers are faced with a difficult challenge today – the balance between a rich customer experience and the speed of their websites. While a rich experience drives more traffic, conversions and revenue, it can also cause an increase in page load time, which has the opposite effect – increased abandonment rate and lower conversions.

This challenge is further complicated by today’s modern applications that are dynamically assembled at the edge of the Internet or carrier network, in the user’s browser or mobile application. Web 2.0 code frameworks, mobile native and streaming applications, third-party and cloud services, smartphones, tablets, browsers, operating systems, ISPs, can increase complexity and page weights that can decrease site performance and compromise the end user experience.

Our featured speaker, Carter Lee, vice president of technology administration, Overstock.com, shared Overstock.com’s best practices for balancing user experience with site speed.

Overstock.com’s Lee and Compuware's CTO, Steve Tack, discussed how Overstock.com:

• Tames the challenges of modern Web 2.0 application delivery
• Measures and optimizes performance at the edge of the Internet
• Delivers robust content to customers without impacting the performance of web pages
• Balances shopping experience (to drive revenue) with site speed

Published in: Technology, Business
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Overstock.com Shares Best Practices for Balancing User Experience with Site Speed

  1. 1. Carter Lee - Vice President of Technology, Overstock.comSteve Tack –APM CTO, CompuwareTwitter: smtack
  2. 2. Please Standby: Webcast to begin shortly! International Toll Free #s Argentina 08006660273 Bahamas 18775232207 Barbados 18668943189 Bolivia 800100835Participants can listen to the call Brazil 08008916189via Audio Broadcast on yourcomputer. Chile 12300206168If you are unable to listen via Colombia 018005180165your PC speakers, please dial in Costa Rica 08000130990to (866) 323-2725 or Mexico 018009269157International (706) 679-3325 and Panama 0018002018157reference Conference ID#85558512 Peru 080052957 United Kingdom 08000288438 Venezuela 08001002762
  3. 3. Agenda • Trends and application delivery challenges • 5 Best Practices 1. Balance user experience with site speed 2. Test performance vs. business goals before going live 3. Master complexity at the edge of the Internet 4. Optimize user experience by device 5. Focus on key user-experience metrics3
  4. 4. Trends Driving a New Best Practice Approach Complexity Explosion Business Demands Increasing More features! Faster delivery! Faster performance! User Expectations Continue to Rise Do More With Less Workload Staff and budget4
  5. 5. Performance Challenge #1 The Application Delivery Chain The Application Delivery Chain Data Center Cloud: Private and Public Users Web Mobile App logic Database Network ISPs Mobile carriers Browsers Mainframe Virtualization SOA CDNs Third party services Devices AJAX JavaScript Mobile apps CustomersApplication EmployeesInfrastructure 5
  6. 6. Performance Challenge #2 The Application Performance Lifecycle • Business demands are increasing • Applications are changing rapidly • Too many dev/test iterations • Too long to deliver and repair Business Development Test Production6
  7. 7. The Answer: Adopt a User Point of View Across the Lifecycle Application Point of View that Starts with the End User Data Center Cloud: Private and Public Users Web Mobile App logic Database Network ISPs Mobile carriers Browsers Mainframe Virtualization SOA CDNs Third party services Devices AJAX JavaScript Mobile apps CustomersApplication Application EmployeesInfrastructure 7
  8. 8. Best Practices 1. Balance user experience with site speed
  9. 9. Balance User Experience with Site Speedmany opportunities… but, who makes the call? …social networking …recommendations …reviews …smartphones, tablets …targeted ads …frequent releases9
  10. 10. Balance User Experience with Site Speedmany opportunities… but, who makes the call? …social networking …recommendations and reviews …smartphones, tablets …targeted ads …frequent releases10
  11. 11. Website Performance Impacts Business Results11
  12. 12. Marketing and IT Alignment Needed Major US retailer trumpets thelaunch of new mobile site to meet rising customer expectations New site doesn’t follow mobile performance best practices resulting in 2X response time 12
  13. 13. Marketing and IT Alignment • Establish common goals and metrics across stakeholders • Balance richness, revenue and speed • Too much of a good thing is too much – over-use can reverse results13
  14. 14. Collaboration IT and Marketing alignment Technology focused departments Blended goals and metrics14
  15. 15. Establish common goals and metricsacross stakeholders Fully realized potential End-Users Business Technology Owners Owners15
  16. 16. Balance richness, revenue andspeed16
  17. 17. Too much of a good thing… Over-use of successful solutions Bloated page weights Increased load times Incremental value ? Reversal of original results17
  18. 18. Best Practices 1. Balance user experience with site speed 2. Test performance vs. business goals before going live
  19. 19. Test Performance vs. Business Goals Before Going Live Development Test Production Integration Loadtesting/Staging Production Challenges: • More change faster due to increased release cycles • Architectures getting more complex – problems harder to isolate and resolve • More blind-spots caused by modern apps – Web 2.0, virtualization, cloud… • Speed and interactivity now matter – the user perspective is primary, no longer secondary 19
  20. 20. Does Our Site/App Perform As Expected During Peak Traffic Conditions?20
  21. 21. Can Your Apps Handle an 1,800 Percent Spike in Traffic?21
  22. 22. Performance Testing • Test and optimize performance early and often • Understand conversion objectives and ensure performance matches before launch/go live • Create ultra-lightweight pages for one time promotions/events22
  23. 23. Pre-deployment Set sales & Test the Analyze and performance impact tweak objectives23
  24. 24. Lightweight pages for one-time events Not business as usual Window of opportunity24
  25. 25. Best Practices 1. Balance user experience with site speed 2. Test performance vs. business goals before going live 3. Master complexity at the edge of the Internet
  26. 26. Master Complexity at the Edge of the Internet Browsers Code Devices Native Applications Local ISPs and Carriers Third Party Services26
  27. 27. Pace of Change is Increasing 27Source: modified version of evolutionofweb.appspot.com
  28. 28. The Browser/App Has Become the Integration PlatformAverage umber of hosts accessed by the browser across the GomezUS Sports Mobile Website Performance Benchmark 12
  29. 29. 3rd Party Services Can Cause Significant Web & AppPerformance Issues Facebook issues contributed to load time spikes for a number of top US mobile websites
  30. 30. Complexity at the Edge • Gain visibility into user access choices with smart monitoring and alerting • Resolve issues when (before) they surface with dynamic optimization • Hold third-party providers accountable in real-time and with SLAs30
  31. 31. Dynamic route optimization Multiple carriers Packet / TCP Optimization31
  32. 32. Best Practices 1. Balance user experience with site speed 2. Test performance vs. business goals before going live 3. Master complexity at the edge of the Internet 4. Optimize user experience by device
  33. 33. Web Traffic From Tablets Is Growing Fast Average Order Value “On average, retailers surveyed by Calendar 2011Forrester report that 21 percent of their mobile traffic comes from tablets, withseveral companies anecdotally reporting figures north of 50 percent.”Sucharita Mulpuru, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research 33
  34. 34. Users’ Web Performance Expectations Are High – No Matter What Device/Browser/Technology Percentage Of End-Users Which Expect A Website To Load In 3 Seconds Or Less 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 89% 83% 40% 30% 59% 20% 10% Survey date = 2012 Survey date = 2011 Survey date = 2009 0% Tablet Smartphone PCSource: Compuware APM; Forrester Research
  35. 35. Embrace A Unified Application PerformanceManagement Approach• Mobile websites and applications often share backend infrastructure and services with existing web apps• Important to leverage established and common best practices, metrics and technologies for both mobile and web channels – Garner operational efficiencies – Identify mobile specific problems, web specific problems or both across the entire application delivery chain - from device to datacenter iPad & Safari iPhone & Safari iPhone App Windows 7 & Chrome
  36. 36. Mobile Optimization • Analyze user behavior across device types • Mobile is not equal; plan for the differences between tablet and smartphone36
  37. 37. Impact of Tablets vs. the PC • Be prepared, don’t adapt slowly to rapid trends • Tablet-optimized sites (real estate, gestures, etc.) • Adapt metrics and testing scenarios37
  38. 38. Best Practices 1. Balance user experience with site speed 2. Test performance vs. business goals before going live 3. Master complexity at the edge of the Internet 4. Optimize user experience by device 5. Focus on key user-experience metrics
  39. 39. What Are Our Real End-Users Web And Application Experiences? Understand end-user performance satisfaction across geographies, networks and devices39
  40. 40. How Does Our Site And Application Performance Impact The Business? Identify mobile site & app performance issues & their impact on conversions Correlate the impact ofperformance to conversions for mobile apps and sites40
  41. 41. How Does Our Mobile Site’s Performance Compare ToThe Competitions’? End-users’ mobile performance expectations are in part shaped by experiences with other sites & apps
  42. 42. Focus on Key User Experience Metrics Determine What to MeasureEnd-user perspective: • What they do (key transactions) • Where they do it (geographic locations) • How they do it (browsers and mobile devices)Measure the business impact 42
  43. 43. Focus on Key User Experience Metrics Determine What Determine Key to Measure MetricsEnd-user perspective: Business Metrics: • What they do (key transactions) • Conversions • Where they do it (geographic • Abandonment locations) • Competition • How they do it (browsers and • Customer Satisfaction mobile devices) • Revenue per transactionMeasure the business impact • Cost of downtime Technical Metrics: • Speed or Response Time • Perceived Render Time • Availability or Success Rate • Consistency / Variability • Bytes Transferred • Efficiency 43
  44. 44. Focus on Key User Experience Metrics Determine What Determine Key to Measure MetricsEnd-user perspective: Business Metrics: • What they do (key transactions) • Conversions • Where they do it (geographic • Abandonment locations) • Competition • How they do it (browsers and • Customer Satisfaction mobile devices) • Revenue per transactionMeasure the business impact • Cost of downtime Technical Metrics: • Speed or Response Time • Perceived Render Time • Availability or Success Rate • Consistency / Variability • Bytes Transferred • Efficiency 44
  45. 45. Focus on Key User Experience Metrics Optimize App Determine What Determine Key Performance and to Measure Metrics User ExperienceEnd-user perspective: Business Metrics: • Problem Resolution • What they do (key transactions) • Conversions • Performance Improvement • Where they do it (geographic • Abandonment • Production Readiness locations) • Competition • Performance Reporting • How they do it (browsers and • Customer Satisfaction mobile devices) • Revenue per transactionMeasure the business impact • Cost of downtime Technical Metrics: • Speed or Response Time • Perceived Render Time • Availability or Success Rate • Consistency / Variability • Bytes Transferred • Efficiency 45
  46. 46. Best Practices 1. Balance user experience with site speed 2. Test performance vs. business goals before going live 3. Master complexity at the edge of the Internet 4. Optimize user experience by device 5. Focus on key user-experience metrics
  47. 47. Questions And Next StepsCompuware Customers EnjoyMeasurable Benefits• Increased revenue 25%• Reduced revenue loss by 92% and $737,251 annually• Reduced home page load time from 11.3 seconds to 3.4 seconds• Saved 50%+ in staff and fees• Reduced downtime 45%• Improved first-hour problem resolution rate to 80%• Improved annual troubleshooting efficiency by 97%, saving $784,000• Reduced SAP license costs by $475,000 per year For more information visit Compuware.com or contact us at +1 781.778.2700
  48. 48. Join us at our upcoming webcast….Customer Success Webcast Featuring Marketing AssociatesJune 19, 2012 2pm ETTo register: http://bit.ly/CPWR-MarketingAssociates
  49. 49. THANK YOU

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