"page load time" entries

Iterate on performance

Start with a baseline benchmark and measure continuously from there

The two most important tasks to ensure your site remains fast are benchmarking and iterating on your site’s page load time. Quick performance wins can be celebrated today, but the health of your site will thrive with routine check-ins and deliberately balancing performance and aesthetics.

Benchmarking page load time

WebPagetest is many developers’ go-to tool for measuring performance. You can enter any live URL and choose a geographic location and which browser you want to test against. It’ll show you things like waterfalls, which diagram the images and other files that make up your total page load time and help you spot page load time issues.

Two additional tools that can analyze your site’s performance against a set of best practices and provides suggestions for improvement are YSlow and PageSpeed. As you get started with improving page load time, I recommend checking out all three of these tools to iron out performance basics on your site.

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Web performance is user experience

Efforts to optimize your site have an effect on the entire experience for your users

Think about how you search for things on the web. How quick are you to close a tab and go to the next search engine result if a site takes too long to load? Now consider doing that on your phone while waiting in line for your coffee order–you have even less time, so your expectations for a site to load quickly are even higher.

Web performance is user experience. Fast page load time builds trust in your site; it yields more returning visitors, more users choosing your site over a competitor’s site, and more people trusting your brand. Users expect pages to load in two seconds, and after three seconds, up to 40% of users will abandon your site. Similar results have been noted by major sites like Amazon, who found that 100 milliseconds of additional page load time decreased sales by one percent, and Google, who lost 20% of revenue and traffic due to half a second increase in page load time. Akamai has also reported that 75% of online shoppers who experience an issue such as freezing, crashing, taking too long to load, or having a convoluted checkout process will not buy from that site.

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Page Phase Time: Beyond Page Load

Velocity 2013 Speaker Series: The Next Generation of Perceived Performance Measurement

Wouldn’t it be helpful if there was a UI performance measurement technology that:

  • Tells when a user, in his/her mind, considers a web page is “done” loading without relying on browser events (e.g. Onload), network timing (e.g. TTLB), or any pre-defined thresholds of pixel changes on the screen or UI element injection/tracking.
  • Measures page load time for modern web pages that are dynamically rendered.
  • Provides a platform/browser/device-independent performance measurement method that can be universally applied.

Page Phase Time (PPT) is such a technology that measures performance based on user perception.
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