22 not-so-short links about web performance

After January’s roundup of performance links was so well-received, I thought I’d make this a regular post. February was a busy month. Here are the best articles, studies, and blog posts I’ve read in the past four weeks.

Web performance overviews, standards and stats

Online performance is business performance
Some excellent data from TRAC Research about the impact of slow websites. Key findings:

  • 4.4 seconds is the average delay in website response times when business performance begins to decline.
  • $21,000 is the average revenue loss for one hour of website downtime.
  • $4,100 is the average revenue loss of an hour of website slowdowns.
  • Website slowdowns occur 10 times more frequently than website outages.
  • Website slowdowns can have twice the revenue impact on an organization as an outage.

I’ll definitely be adding these numbers to my performance cheat sheet.

W3C Launches Web Performance Interest Group
On top of producing use cases and requirements for future deliverables of the Web Performance Working Group, the Interest Group will “provide a forum to discuss web performance initiatives across web publishers, vendors, developers, and users with the goal of identifying areas for standardization.”

Four elements of web performance: Weight, time, processing and perception
This is a really good breakdown — including some useful tips — from Marcus Westin.

Web Performance 101
This is an excellent overview of web performance, its challenges, and its solutions, from Stephen Thair. I’m indebted to it for turning me on to the fascinating “web stress” study I wrote about last week.

The Slow-Motion Internet
A well-crafted article on performance in general, and on Google’s “Make the Web Faster” initiative in specific. It’s from MIT’s Technology Review magazine, so I had to sign up — and use up one of my three feature article credits — to read it, but it was worthwhile. (I was also quite flattered to see data from Strangeloop cited as a source for one of Google’s infographics.)

Case studies and real-world scenarios

The Daily Wait
John Gruber talks about the incredibly slow load times he’s experienced when accessing The Daily and The New York Times on his iPad, and the impact this has had on his use of these apps:

“For comparison’s sake, I timed The New York Times iPad app. That took about 25 seconds to load today’s issue. A lot less time than The Daily, but, still too long. I realized that the delay before being able to read it was the reason I’d slowly stopped using The NYT iPad app over the last few months.”

A Race Between Digital and Print Magazines
In a similar vein (and, ironically, in The New York Times), is this piece from tech columnist Nick Bilton. Bilton conducted a test in which he started to download Wired on his iPad, then timed it against how long it took him to drive twelve blocks to buy the print version. Guess which came first.

How We Got DynDNS.com to Load Faster and How You Can Learn from It
I love pieces like this one from Dyn’s blog. They talk us through the step-by-step performance optimizations they made, and share the awesome end result: pages that load in less than half the time.

Flower Sites Hit Hard by Valentine’s Day
Pingdom, an uptime monitoring service, shares some telling graphs that show how major flower websites — Flower.com, Justflowers.com and Sendflowers.com — all experienced brutal slowdowns on one of the most important days of their year.

Balancing front-end reporting and tracking
A sign that web performance has truly arrived as a mainstream issue: The Guardian writes about its own performance-tuning efforts in its dev blog.


Disabling ETags in IIS6
Duncan McDougall explains how to address a common YSlow and WebPagetest suggestion: turning off entity tags.

Creating Fast Buttons for Mobile Web Applications
Google offers some tips and code for making your mobile buttons faster.

Using Human Computation to answer web performance questions
Sergey Chernyshev discusses how to identify the “enough” point, when a user is able to engage with a web page.

Optimize the Performance of Widgets, Buttons and More
Practical tips for fixing performance of common widgets and buttons from Digg, Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Google, and more.


Retailers create better designs on their web sites and beyond
Study: 44% of online retailers have mobile commerce sites, up from 13% a year ago.

Study: Apple’s Mobile Browser Is Fastest
According to a recent Gomez study, Apple’s mobile version of Safari was fastest and BlackBerry’s browser the slowest. Scroll down to see a complete chart of Gomez’s browser data, including its data for desktop browsers.

Maximize Your Mcommerce Strategy
More research from Gomez, this time saying that mobile consumers expect pages to load in 6 seconds, compared to less than 2 seconds for desktop users. (Though Jeroen Tjepkema pointed out to me that, later in this same slideshow, it states that 60% of all mobile users expect sites to load as fast as on their PC.)


Focusing on Real World Web Performance with Internet Explorer 9
Good behind-the-scenes post from the folks behind IE9, explaining their five performance objectives.

The Era of Browser Pre-Connect
Mike Belshe makes some good observations in this post, including this one: “IE9 is the first browser I know of which appears to preconnect right out of the gate.”

What you don’t know about browsers can hurt your conversion rate
While many developers have written off IE6, this article about L.L. Bean’s website highlights an important point:

While most consumers now use more advanced browsers than IE6, IE6 is still used by 4-5% of the slightly older than average shoppers at LLBean.com. In China, 60% of online shoppers use IE6. Each retailer must consider its own customers and the browsers they use when deciding how important each browser is.


National Broadband Map shows how connected your community is
A good reality check for those of us in urban centres, developing for people outside of cities.

Home Internet May Get Even Faster in South Korea
The average home in South Korea already has a faster connection than I do, and according to this article, it’s about to get much faster:

By the end of 2012, South Korea intends to connect every home in the country to the Internet at one gigabit per second. That would be a tenfold increase from the already blazing national standard and more than 200 times as fast as the average household setup in the United States.

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments.

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