Opening Rounds: It's on! (Part 1)
By Aaron Rudger | March 21, 2014
The NCAA tournament is in full swing and our featured websites are battling it out for the hearts and minds (and let’s face it—wallets) of smartphone, tablet and desktop users. As promisedwe’re tracking those sites and sharing how these competitors are faring in terms of Web experience. And just to spice things up, we added a bonus name in each category to make things interesting (New entries: Nike-Apparel Bracket, Duke-University Bracket, Quiznos-Food Bracket, Sports Illustrated-Sports Media Bracket).
The big story of our opening round is the smartphone experience. Across the board, our “contestants” had a difficult time delivering a good user experience over a mobile network. Let’s take a look at our brackets and see how they did through Thursday, the first day of wall-to-wall action.
Opening Round: Sports Apparel Bracket
Performance: Desktop and Tablet sites experienced little performance issues beginning March 15th through the early morning of March 21st. Newly added, The Nike (Desktop) home page, on average, took the longest time to load (7.65 seconds) compared to Dick’s Sporting Goods which loaded the fastest (1.885s). Why were there higher response times for Nike? This can largely be attributed to the fact that the Nike home page, on average, loads 200+ objects vs Dick’s which loads under 70 objects.
During the same time period, users accessing sites over smartphones saw noticeable spikes in performance with a slow ramp up starting around March 17th The Sports Authority led the pack by averaging 12.56 seconds on smartphones, while the slowest site averaged 32.41 seconds.
Availability:Desktop and Tablet Sports Apparel sites had little availability issues but sites being accessed over smartphones experienced frequent availability issues. The site with the most issues was only available 71.46% of the time. That’s like turning away over one-quarter of your visitors and potential customers.
The NCAA Store, Dick’s and Fanatics home pages experienced availability issues on March 20th with the Fanatics site availability dropping to 75%.