Visitor Monitoring iPad Users Have Fastest User Experience on NCAA Shop | Keynote
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iPad Users Have Fastest User Experience on NCAA Shop

By Aaron Rudger | April 7, 2014

CATEGORIES: Web Performance

The NCAA Shop is definitely an online store that gets a VERY LARGE amount of traffic and exposure up to and continuing through March Madness and the National Championship game.

As part of our March 3-Screen Shootout, we decided to take a deeper dive to analyze of how well this particular site performs during an exciting time in college sports. Keynote looked at the performance of the store home page for a two week period from March 24 – April 6, 2014.

What we found was quite interesting. Users on iPads have a much faster user experience than those on desktops.

NCAA Shop_1

Most likely, this may have something to do with how Safari handles and processes JavaScript as compared to how Internet Explorer does. Looking a little deeper, we quickly found that desktop site visitors (who are using Internet Explorer 9) have a poor user experience due, mainly, to 2.5-3s of browser processing time.

NCAA Shop_2

Waterfall Graph:

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Smartphone users using over-the-air connections (we conduct our testing with an iPhone running iOS 6 and data connections provided by T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T) have a much slower user experience, and, sadly, a significant error rate.

NCAA Shop_5

Visitors to the NCAA Shop website coming from a smartphone had much more fluctuation in their user experience during this two week time frame as compared to the consistency seen with tablet and desktop users. Website performance with smartphones, over the air, is typically slower in comparison to tablet and desktop web performance due to the inherent latency with each connection made and throughput limitations of some of these connections.

Performance of the NCAA Shop website over T-Mobile and AT&T was significantly faster than from Sprint and Verizon as illustrated in the following chart.

NCAA Shop_6

In the following example of a smartphone user’s experience, we can see that the content download time has a large impact in delivering NCAA Shop (nearly 8s was spent downloading 2 elements). Considerable time is also spent with DNS Lookups (blue/green) and Initial Connections (orange).

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Error analysisRounding out the analysis of NCAA Shop, another significant finding was that smartphone users had a much higher error rate during this two week period as illustrated in the following chart.

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The error rate was significant, almost daily, with smartphone users, while tablet and desktop users had nearly 0% error rates on a daily basis.

The majority of errors experience by smartphone users were those using Sprint and Verizon.

NCAA Shop_9

The common error that NCAA Shop site visitors experienced on smartphones was a page that never started to download as illustrated in this waterfall chart.

NCAA Shop_10 In summary, we found:
  1. NCAA Shop website visitors on tablets had the best user experience as a result of not having degrading browser processing time
  2. Desktop users, sans browser processing time, had very similar performance as tablet users
  3. Smartphone users had a very slow user experience on average, and, a significant error rate
  4. Smartphone users on T-Mobile and AT&T had a much faster experience than those on Sprint and Verizon as well as fewer errors resulting from time outs

Post submitted by Peter Filias, Keynote Analytics Consultant.

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