Overcoming the Momentum of Traditional Web Performance

When I asked if traditional Web performance still mattered, the post generated a flurry of comments and questions that I haven’t seen in in a long time.

After some reflection and discussions with people who have been tackling this problem for longer than I have, the answer is yes, it does matter. However, synthetic Web performance measurement will not matter the way it does now. The synthetic approach will decrease in importance within fully evolved companies, organizations that have strong cultures of Web performance.

In these organizations, the questions change as the approach becomes foundational and integral to the operation of the online business. Ways of examining competition and performance improvement evolve, and the focus moves – from the perspective of We have a problem to one of of Our customers / visitors have a problem.

The shift is fundamental and critical. For as long as I have been in the business, synthetic measurements have served as a proxy for customer experience. But unless you get into the browser, out to where and how the customer uses the online application, the margin of error will remain large.

The customer is not an operational issue. There is no technical fix for perceived performance.

There is no easy solution for evolving the experience of performance.

Categories: Effective Web Performance, Web Performance, Web performance concepts, WebPerformance.Org


  1. Overall, a valid point: measuring what is happening in the user’s browser is increasingly important.
    However, you also wrote:
    “There is no technical fix for perceived performance.
    There is no easy solution for evolving the experience of performance.”
    Politely, I disagree. Yottaa Site Speed Optimizer is precisely that: an easy solution for improving perceived (and actual) performance. 🙂

    • True enough. There are a number of point tools available that help companies identify issues that may affect the customer experience. If you are a business, some critical question questions to ask are:

      • Have the performance changes helped improve the experience of all visitors?
      • Can changes in visitor experience be identified as they occur?
      • Can changes in the visitor experience be detected as site/browser/device changes occur?
      • Is the experience issue affecting ten, ten thousand, or all visitors?
      • What do these changes do to evolve performance as fast as visitors’ expectations evolve?

      The expectation of performance improvement is only one aspect the visitor experience.

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