Guidelines for 3-Screen Performance Management
By Aaron Rudger | April 30, 2012
Recently, the web performance team at Walmart joined us for a webcast on site performance in a 3-screen world. The emergence of both smartphones and now tablets as primary vehicles for driving online interaction including e-commerce is well documented. What’s still not as well understood are the implications to site design that impact performance across the desktop, smartphone and tablet environments.
While I encourage you to watch the webcast, here are a few launch-pad performance benchmarks and tips to think about for your Web and mobile sites:
3-screen is more than 3-screen
On the desktop, multiple browsers add some complexity to understanding performance. But the multiple permutations of OS/hardware/versions representing today’s smartphone and tablet environments exacerbate the complexity of the user experience online.
You can’t take it with you
Performance management concepts for one screen do not translate to the others. A study by Yankee Group found that Apple’s website ran nearly 200% faster on desktop than Amazon’s site, but ran 3% slower on tablet.
Minimize, and gracefully enhance
Develop with the 3G connection in mind first, and add to the experience from there. For smartphone and tablets, consider the following practices:
- >> Limit element count to 10 or fewer new HTTP requests/page
- >> Avoid redirects
- >> Reduce the number of DNS lookups/page
- >> Always use HTTP Keep Alive
- >> Audit image content for appropriate resolution, quality settings and compression
One size does not fit all!
Commit to accurately and consistently measure performance and optimize based on where you have issues/latency and within your technical constraints. Your unique situation will impact how you approach improvement, e.g.: front end versus back end, CDN versus network, 3rd party versus CMS, etc. The benchmarks above are only as good as what is normal for you, your industry and your competitors. Find other benchmarks, and network with your peers.