performance archives
“A snappy user experience beats a glamorous one.”
From a nice revamp of Nielsen’s classic “3 response time limits” article that has proved very useful to me over the years in determining how fast is “fast enough,” and how to communicate progress effectively in different situations.

posted by ted about a day ago · 1 comment

SORT Conference Presentations

This past week the church put on a technical conference (no not THAT conference) called SORT (no it doesn’t stand for anything). It was a two day conference held at the institute building at the University of Utah. There were over 850 attendees, 200+ classes and 6 keynotes. Yes, this was a serious conference.

Aside from the keynotes, all of the classes were given by people from inside the churches organizations. Employees from the ICS (IT) department, Family History, BYU and more. The conference ran smoother then most other conferences I have been to. They provided breakfast, lunch and snacks throughout the day. Class content ranged from beginner to advanced, from back end to front end, security to performance, and many many more topics. All in all, one of the best conferences I have attended.

I decided to punish myself (and others) by presenting at the conference. I gave 3 presentations: Intermediate jQuery, Advanced jQuery and Designing Faster Websites. The Faster Websites had so many people sign up for it that they gave it a second time slot as well so more people could see it. It’s awesome that so many people were interested in this subject to need that.

Several other NorthTemple-ites also presented.

Overall a great representation from our team to get these important topics in the minds of people from many disciplines.

Due to the church being understandably overly cautious about legal issues we will probably not be able to post our slides from our presentations. But I figured posting some links to stuff I mentioned would be beneficial to those who attended my presentations and others as well. This will not be the prettiest of lists, but some good information regardless.

Intermediate jQuery

Most of my presentation was a dive into the following pages. If I can get clearance to post the demos and my other optimization examples, I’ll post them.

Advanced jQuery

Designing Faster Websites

I was glad so many people were interested in this topic. There is a lot of activity in this space lately and our users will thank us for making the extra effort.

General Performance



posted by aaron on Wednesday, Oct 21, 2009 · 4 comments

Performance guru Steve Souders dives into current performance issues with the web’s latest hot techonolgy of font-embedding via @font-face. @font-face and performance describes how the major browsers handle font embedding for good and bad. Specifically how all browsers but Firefox show no text until the font is downloaded (FF shows the default font and then re-draws when the custom font is ready).

A must read for anyone thinking to use this new arrow in our quiver, so you can know the potential drawbacks.

posted by aaron on Monday, Oct 19, 2009 · 0 comments

Webslug: Helping measure the worldwide wait… sorta

Webslug claims it can “help you measure the worldwide wait.” Cool tagline, but I’m skeptical.

The time I got back on one site was infinitesimally small (less than a twentieth of a second) when personal experience shows it takes around 10 seconds. Another site showed over 40 seconds when my experience has been around 20 seconds. And finally the site doesn’t answer the question, “How fast is it at a given connection speed?” It just gives seconds to load without the context of a data rate. (The Firefox Throttle Add-On does this nicely, but only on the Windows version.)

On the upside, it does let you compare two sites to each other and collects measurements of all the sites that get tested for public review. I like these ideas, but Webslug will have to fix those deficiencies before I come back often.

One final wishlist item, the value of which was demonstrated in a presentation by Aaron Barker recently, is being able to see the difference between “page appears” (something happens to show the user that the site is loading), “page is partially functional”, and “page is fully functional” (100% loaded). If a page takes too long to appear initially, the user may get impatient and hit Refresh—which will actually delay them further by restarting the whole process. So even if it’s not fully functional there is value to getting something up there quick, even if it’s not the full meal deal. But I’m not sure an automated tool could really do that… Someone prove me wrong please!

See Webslug for yourself.

Also check Yahoo’s best practices for increasing performance on the front end. (Thanks for all your recent help on this stuff Aaron!)

posted by ted on Thursday, Jul 10, 2008

“Companies focused on customer-experience design outperformed the S&P 500 by a 10-to-1 margin from 2000 to 2005”

posted by sam on Friday, Oct 05, 2007

“Human beings are designed for learning. No one has to teach an infant to walk, or talk, or master the spatial relationships needed to stack eight building blocks that don’t topple. Children come fully equipped with an insatiable drive to explore and experiment. Unfortunately, the primary institutions of our society are oriented predominantly toward controlling rather than learning, rewarding individuals for performing for others rather than for cultivating their natural curiosity and impulse to learn. The young child entering school discovers quickly that the name of the game is getting the right answer and avoiding mistakes—a mandate no less compelling to the aspiring manager.”
Peter M. Senge, The Leader’s New Work: Building Learning Organizations

posted by clifton on Tuesday, Sep 18, 2007