Visitor Monitoring Usablenet | Keynote
Case Study


Keynote Helps Usablenet Ensure Online Success for the World’s Best Brands

Impact Highlights

  • Usablenet employs Keynote monitoring services to proactively test user experiences on clients’ mobile-optimized sites
  • Critical Path Testing helps Usablenet to ensure that consumer mobile commerce transactions are performing well
  • Keynote benchmarking services help Usablenet clients compare how their site performs relative to industry peers


Usablenet powers best-in-class mobile sites and multichannel experiences for more than 350 clients. These companies include many of the world’s top retail, travel, and service brands such as Aeropostale, CVS, Hilton, Hyatt, American Airlines, Dell and FedEx. The company‘s roots are in usability and web accessibility, and in early 2000 Usablenet pioneered the technology to help clients optimize their websites for mobile. Usablenet’s platform supports over 500 implementations and delivers more than 100 million pages per day across 220 countries. Companies choose Usablenet to create compelling experiences for their customers across multiple channels, including mobile, tablet, social, and in-store kiosks.

Challenge: Understand the Impact of the Network 

For most organizations, a website optimized for mobile devices has become a must-have for business success.  Sixty percent of online devices are now smartphones or tablets. (Source: Business Insider, The Future of Digital 2013). The mobile percentage of online sales increased more than 60 percent year over year in 3Q 2013 with mobile traffic for U.S. retail reaching almost 32 percent in the third quarter. (IBM Online Retail Index 3Q 2013). 

In order for brands to provide seamless online experiences for their customers, their mobile sites must be consistently available and responsive. As a result, says Carin Van Vuuren, CMO at Usablenet, “Our goal is to provide mobile sites that deliver the best possible performance, high reliability, and a compelling user experience. The Usablenet platform scales to deliver robust support, even on the busiest shopping days. But issues such as network availability can impact the performance of a mobile site. We wanted a solution that would allow us to proactively and continually test sites to make sure that performance matches our expectations. We also wanted to enable our clients to measure and compare performance across various devices.”

Why Keynote: It’s the Industry Leader

“We selected Keynote Mobile Web Perspective and Keynote Mobile Internet Testing Environment (MITE),” said Bhavna Godhania, Director of Partnerships at Usablenet, “because Keynote is the industry leader in mobile web testing. We liked the features available for internal use by our QA team. Because our business is global, we wanted a partner with the capability to run tests from different regions and use that information to report on areas that need improvement so we could plan accordingly.”

Additionally, because most of Usablenet’s customers have versions of their websites tailored for both desktop and mobile users, Keynote gives Usablenet customers the convenience of being able to monitor both their mobile site and desktop site with one service provider. 

Keynote’s industry benchmark service was also an important factor in the decision. This benchmarking service allows Usablenet’s customers to see how their site performance compares with the competition. 

The Solution

The primary use cases for Keynote Mobile Web Perspective are availability and critical path testing. Usablenet offers its customers a platform availability and uptime service level agreement. Using Keynote, it can run availability tests on specific URLs for clients and on the home page to ensure that the site is available on a mobile device—and in compliance with the SLA.

Critical path testing allows Usablenet to make sure customers can do what they need to do on the site with the expected level of performance. Using Keynote, Usablenet creates scripts that automatically run through each step a customer takes from landing on the homepage to researching products to putting products in the shopping cart and checking out. Usablenet typically performs these critical path tests using emulated devices running all major mobile operating systems from several metropolitan locations. Usablenet’s account team then delivers automated reports to the client’s executive team to keep them up to date on how their site is performing from an end-user perspective.

If something breaks on the critical path, Keynote immediately alerts both Usablenet’s solutions engineers and the Usablenet client, creating an environment where the two teams work together to fix the problem. Keynote’s monitoring runs 24/7, finding issues before they can impact users. 

In one instance, a large retailer ran a big sale on their Usablenet storefront site and a Keynote report indicated that the checkout was broken. The Usablenet client service manager immediately saw that there was an issue, called the client to let them know, and resolved the problem before the client’s main contact even made it to the office. “Without Keynote, we wouldn’t have known that the site had gone down and we would have had an unhappy customer,” said Godhania.

Usablenet’s clients also use Keynote to see whether any changes they make will have an impact on their mobile site’s performance. For example, the client might change something on their e-commerce platform or add a new feature that could break the mobile site.  Mobile Web Perspective allows both Usablenet and the client to see exactly where and when any problems occur.

Finally, some of Usablenet’s clients use the Keynote benchmarks for competitive research. Working with Usablenet, a client is able to compare their site to three or four peer sites and determine their relative performance. “We work with our clients to understand what’s going on and what changes need to be made—for example, it could be that higher ranking sites accelerate content with a content delivery network (CDN) or reduce image sizes,” said Godhania.

Benefits: Keeping Performance up to Par

Overall, says Godhania, “Mobile site availability and performance have a profound impact how consumers perceive a brand. Studies show that there’s a correlation between delays in load time and lost sales for our retail customers. Keynote keeps us very connected to the end users’ perspective on the site so we can understand exactly what’s happening and how we can address a performance issue. If anything goes wrong, Keynote alerts us instantly so we can work with customers to fix the problem as quickly as possible. Clients love it.”

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