How Performance Impacts KPIs: Velocity Online Conference

For anyone who missed it, Alistair had an interesting (and popular) post on watchingwebsites.com about how speeding up performance improves online business.   The data was gathered through some experimentation that Alistair helped us run with some Strangeloop customers.  Through the experiments, we were able to draw a direct link between web performance and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of the business, getting us closer to the holy grail of showing, in business terms, why performance matters.  Alistair presented the data in a joint webinar with Strangeloop in October.

Next tuesday, December 8th, I’ll be revisiting the data and presenting them again at the Velocity Online Conference, which is O’Reilly’s online version of the Velocity Conference.   The online version is also co-chaired by Steve Souders and Jesse Robbins, will run for half the day, and includes some pretty interesting presentations on topics that range from Varnish to SPDY to Steve’s impressive Browserscope initiative.  I’m excited to be a part of it and am looking forward to playing Alistair’s proxy in presenting the data, not to mention listening in on the other presentations.

I encourage all to attend.  And knowing how much Bitcurrent’s inquisitive readers will surely be interested in the event, I got us a bit of a discount too.  Here are all the pertinent details:

Hope to see you there.

Marissa Mayer at Velocity09, and Google's quest for speed

I’m at Velocity in San Jose. Just got in last night, and I wish I could have been here for the whole thing. It’s no exaggeration to say that this is the biggest congregation of people who make the Internet work, in one place, for one subject. Jesse Robbins and Steve Souders, along with O’Reilly, get an amazing group of people together. Even the chat in the speaker room this morning was skimming the top of my forehead.

It actually feels like cloud computing and web monitoring are converging very quickly. It’s increasingly obvious that performance, user experience, and revenues are inextricably linked. Microsoft and Google covered this in a joint presentation yesterday, and by now, you’vep probably heard about the number of results Google shows. They tested the number of results that should be shown on the first results page, then tested them.

As Google’s VP of products Marissa Mayer points out, users wanted 30 results. But when they turned this on, they saw a 25% drop in searches on the site!

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Browser rendering and web performance: Reflow

Most web operators focus on two big things when considering site performance: Network time and host time. If we’re particularly ornery, we might bring up SSL latency — the time it takes to negotiate encryption — or even service discovery delays such as DNS.

But with increasingly rich client interfaces, the time it takes for the browser to collect and display all of the content according to its style tags is an important source of delay.

Here are some examples of what a browser has to go through as it receives data (like a list of bullets) and then applies formatting (such as position, order, and alignment with other components.

These were found by DougT somewhere on Google Video. There are others (such as Wikipedia) that he shows on his blog.. He (and we) aren’t sure where they came from, although the original video references the Gecko rendering engine. Whoever you are, nice work!