Collected thoughts about software and site performance ...

Web performance matters. Responsive sites can make the online experience effective, even enjoyable. A slow site can be unusable. This site is about online performance, how to achieve and maintain it, its impact on user experience, and ultimately on site effectiveness.

Generalizing The Apdex Standard [2]

Illustration: Apdex Logo

Today the Apdex specification is entirely focused on application response time. Its first paragraph defines Apdex as “a method for calculating and reporting a metric of transactional application response time in the form of an index with a value of 0 to 1.” But in reality, the Apdex method has much wider applicability. A more appropriate description might be the general statement that Apdex is a metric that reflects the degree to which a set of performance measurements achieves designated targets.

The idea of generalizing the Apdex standard has been discussed periodically within the Apdex community. To turn those discussions from an abstract idea into a concrete proposal, I’m writing a series of posts on the Apdex Exchange blog ...

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Apdex as a (Key) Performance Indicator

Illustration: Apdex Logo

On the Apdex Exchange blog, I’m writing a series of posts about Generalizing The Apdex Standard. The ideas I developed (together with any public input) will evolve into a new draft of the Apdex specification. The latest post is on Apdex as a (Key) Performance Indicator. Here's a brief introduction:

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Measuring Mobile Web Sites

Illustration: Web Analytics Report

The methods commonly used to measure Web sites often don't work for mobile sites, because of differences among mobile platforms and devices. The biggest obstacles are lack of support on mobile devices for Cookies, JavaScript, and client IP addresses.

The Wikipedia article on Mobile Web Analytics provides a succinct introduction to these and other challenges -- see the section on "Problems with tracking visitors, visits and clickpaths in the Mobile Web". Because of these limitations, the tagging methods used by traditional Web analytics tools do not work on most mobile devices.

While researching this subject, I discovered Kaizen Analytics, an excellent blog by Michael Notté. In a recent post, Michael provides a useful overview -- see Mobile Analytics: vertical-specific vs. traditional Web Analytics solutions. Michael points out that there are other ways to collect data about mobile Web sites. He outlines four solution approaches, illustrating each with a helpful diagram:

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Choosing Performance Management Tools

Illustration: Apdex Logo

With over 30 application performance management (APM) tool vendors offering scores of products, buyers face hundreds of confusing choices. Compounding the problem, the lack of a common taxonomy, or standard APM nomenclature, makes cross-vendor product comparisons especially challenging.

To address this challenge, NetForecast has developed an APM tools framework anyone can use to define APM requirements and map them to vendor offerings. On June 30 2010, Peter Sevcik will describe this framework in a Webinar hosted by the Apdex Alliance ...

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Service Level Management with Apdex

Illustration: Apdex Logo

Service level management (SLM) is the art and science of keeping application services running properly once in production. The key to successful SLM is the ability to use metrics that are linked to the business.

Apdex (Application Performance Index) is an open standard that is a numerical measure of user satisfaction with the performance of enterprise applications. It converts many measurements into one number on a uniform scale of 0-to-1 (0 = no users satisfied, 1 = all users satisfied).

Properly implemented, Apdex enables an organization to link application performance to business needs ...

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Generalizing The Apdex Standard

Illustration: Apdex Logo

Today the Apdex specification is entirely focused on application response time. Its first paragraph defines Apdex as “a method for calculating and reporting a metric of transactional application response time in the form of an index with a value of 0 to 1.”

But in reality, the Apdex method is much more widely applicable, and a more appropriate description is already spelled out in the first paragraph of the Wikipedia article on Apdex ...

Click to read more ...

jQuery Library Performance Alert

Illustration: jQuery logo

Recently I've been doing a lot Web design and development work, using the Squarespace platform, a "A fully hosted, completely managed environment for creating and maintaining a website, blog or portfolio." I like Squarespace because it is xhtml/CSS based and lets me focus on a site's content and appearance. I get great performance and never have to deal with installing and managing any Web server software. Normally ...

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Where Performance Meets Availability

Illustration: Stopwatch

Earlier posts about Acceptable Response Times have discussed how a Web site or application's responsiveness can Delight, Satisfy, or Frustrate customers.

Availability, on the other hand, is a measure of a system's stability. It is not a performance metric, it is a software (or hardware) quality metric.

So, technically speaking, performance and availability are orthogonal issues. Practically speaking, however, availability and responsiveness are interconnected concepts.

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Why Technorati is Not Usable

Illustration: Four dimensions of usability

I was going to write about performance and availability today, but this was not the post I had in mind. Technorati sidetracked me. So I'm going to write about Usability instead. Because Technorati provides a good counter-example -- how not to build a usable Web application that satisfies and retains customers.

In Web Usability: A Simple Framework, I described a way to think about Web site or Web application usability.

In a second post, The Dimensions of Usability, I presented the graphic shown here, and discussed the four dimensions in a bit more detail.

These four dimensions are not alternative functional goals, to be weighed against one another and prioritized. Web application effectiveness is a four-step challenge:

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Human Factors and Blog Design

The best products are designed with Human Factors in mind. That's why I often write about Web design and usability in my Web Performance Matters blog.

Jeff Atwood recently published Thirteen Blog Clichés, a post summarizing his "opinions about what makes blogs work well, and what makes blogs sometimes not work so well." These are presented as a list of common mistakes to avoid (or anti-patterns). If you have a blog, or are designing one, you've probably read similar articles before. Even so, Jeff's checklist is worth a look. All such lists tend to contain a core set of common guidelines to follow and/or pitfalls to avoid, but some of Jeff's opinions step outside the conventional wisdom.

Because I maintain two blogs -- Web Performance Matters and UpRight Matters -- I decided to rate both blogs against Jeff's criteria. Here are edited versions of his recommendations, and my responses. To read Jeff's full discussions of each guideline, see the original. And for the full story, see the many responses posted by Jeff's readers in the comments section of his blog.

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Posted on Saturday, September 22, 2007 at 12:30AM by Registered CommenterChris Loosley in , | CommentsPost a Comment
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