Internet Retailer Conference annual event: Who had the fastest web site at Internet Retailer 2012?

Recently, at the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition annual event at McCormick Place West in Chicago had record number of attendees with more than 8,600 in attendance over the four-day event including 564 companies exhibiting e-commerce technologies and services.

This year’s event was focused on “Connecting with the 21st Century Consumer.” A description from the event brochure stated, ‘It was not long ago that having a decently performing retail web site was cool. No more. Today there a millions of e-commerce sites and the competition between them is fierce.

So fierce, in fact, that e-retailers can no longer succeed simply by keeping up with the pack. Growth comes by outperforming your competition and the surest way of doing that is by understanding who are the frequent web shoppers, what they demand from online stores, and how best to reach and serve them.’

To help attendees understand their site’s performance, we ran the “Gomez Challenge” where attendees provided their website URL to have the site’s performance measured in real-time and compared to other participants taking part in the challenge during the event.

The Gomez Challenge is a set of tests that provide event participants – whether performance focused or just beginning to learn about it – valuable insight into how both market leaders and smaller companies sites are performing and context for discussions between IT and business site stakeholders on how to balance user experience with site speed.

Over the four-day event, we ran home page tests of participant’s web site performance from multiple geographic locations looking at webpage response time, number of connections, hosts, objects, and page size to provide insight into how each site is performing.

Using a series of waterfall charts and other diagnostics tools built into the Gomez Challenge, the test also provided participants with immediate suggestions for optimizing performance.

The Gomez Challenge results are presented on a scoreboard that lists each participant along with their results across the following page load thresholds:

  • Green = less than 2 seconds, good customer experiences
  • Yellow = between 2.1 and 5 seconds, considered to be customer impacting
  • Red = more than 5 seconds, critical issues and very customer impacting

The winner of the Gomez Challenge had the the fastest average response time during the event across multiple geographies. This year’s challenge winner was Belk.com, the nation’s largest privately owned mainline department store company with 303 Belk stores located in 16 Southern states – congratulations!

Check out your own website with a free test with the Gomez Website Performance Test. You can also find out how your website performs across browsers, compared to your competitors and on mobile applications here.

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Are your web and mobile apps ready for the revolution?

From Compuware APM blog by 

Today, more than 50% of Americans own a smartphone. They use them to update Facebook profiles, scan and deposit checks, find restaurants and more often than not work.

As a result of today’s workforce becoming more dispersed and collaborative, employees often want to use technologies of their choice, including their own personal devices. Businesses have been quick to embrace this trend and give employees the ability to perform critical business functions anytime, anywhere, in the hopes of leveraging gains in productivity.

A recent study by Forrester Research shows that 60% of employees use their personal mobile devices at work. Some organizations have reported over 75% of devices on their networks are owned by employees. While this trend is viewed by some as risky and painful, causing security, liability, and management issues, others have embraced it.

Companies that have embraced Bring Your Own Device’ or BYOD have opened up a Pandora’s box of potential technical issues, only some of which have come to light. Recently IBM’s CIO tightened the company’s BYOD restrictions on certain software apps, citing security problems. A Cisco Systems study also revealed BYOD is creating internal support issues at many enterprises.

While BYOD offers flexibility, freedom and potential productivity gains, it also increases the complexity at the edge of the Internet.  To make matters more challenging, employees have the expectation that they can access their email, Internet and corporate resources not only from their laptop, but also on their iPhone, iPad, Android device or Blackberry.

It is not unusual to see the number of mobile clients in an enterprise double, or even triple, with the same number of employees, since each user may have two or even three devices in use, such as a laptop, smart phone and tablet. Employees also expect to receive the same high level of user experience, in terms of seamless access and wire-like performance that they receive with the services that they are used to consuming on their mobile devices.

Arguments for allowing employees to bring their own devices into the office environment abound – from helping employees become more productive, to making it easier to attract and retain talent, to simply submitting to a tidal wave of change that is impossible to resist.

However, the chart below provides a snapshot of just one culprit that can impact employees’ user experience – the large number of web browsers and how differently they perform on various mobile and desktop devices. This small sample shows average page load times for just a few of the hundreds of possible device/OS/browser combinations.

Since many applications are delivered via the web (and much of the work of an application happens within the browser itself) how can an IT department ensure the application speed and availability that the business demands for so many variations? The first step is to gain visibility into the performance of business sites and applications across all devices and networks used by employees.

But tracking and managing performance levels is now exponentially more difficult as more and more devices and applications are in play. If you can’t verify the reliability and performance of mobile sites and applications, then you’ll create frustrated, non-productive employees.

Visibility into application performance across networks and devices is needed to understand and track performance, quickly spot problems and correct issues before they impact employee productivity or result in unwanted support tickets.


Compuware Gomez Infographic – Summary of Key Mobile Survey Findings

According to recent survey conducted by Equation Research on behalf of Compuware; 4,014 global mobile web users found that consumers have high expectations for mobile website and application performance.

Ultimately, 71% stated they expect websites to load as quickly, almost as quickly or faster on their mobile phone compared to the computer they use at home – up from 58% in 2009.

The survey “What Users Want From Mobile” also revealed how unsatisfactory mobile web and application experiences can negatively shape a consumer’s opinion of an organisation.

Report available here for download.


Compuware Gomez Offers Industry’s First Free IPv6 Website Performance Comparison Test

From CBS Detroit.com 8th June 2011

In recognition of World IPv6 day, Compuware Gomez have released the industry’s first free IPv6 Website Performance Comparison Test.

This test allows organisations to compare the speed of their IPv4- and IPv6-enabled Web applications. The free Compuware Gomez IPv6 Website Performance Comparison Test is available at www.gomez.com/ipv6-instant-test.

With Internet Protocol IPv4 addresses running out this year, the industry must act quickly to prepare for IPv6 adoption or risk increased costs and limited functionality online for Internet users everywhere. With the migration to IPv6 already under way, it’s critical that organizations ensure their IPv6-enabled applications perform on par with their customers’ user experience expectations.

Compuware’s early analysis of IPv6-enabled sites shows that users generally experience slower response times when accessing them. “With the depletion of IPv4 addresses, the IPv6 transition will affect every business that touches the Internet and the cloud. So organizations need to be ready to ensure the best possible end user experience for this transition,” said Mark Worsey, CIO at GoGrid.

“With GoGrid’s cloud infrastructure powering Gomez’s IPv6 Website Performance Comparison Test companies can easily compare performance of their IPv4- and IPv6-enabled web applications.”

To use the Gomez IPv6 Website Performance Comparison Test the user submits URLs for IPv4- and IPv6-enabled Web sites. The test produces a waterfall chart that compares the response times of each of the sites and also shows a screen capture of the IPv6 and IPv4 pages as they are seen in an actual browser.

“IPv6 will play an important role in the future of the Internet, and until now there was no way to test the performance of IPv6-ready websites or compare them to the currently deployed IPv4 sites,” said Steve Tack, chief technology officer of Compuware application performance measurement business unit.

“This instant test provides a quick and simple way to measure the response times that a user experiences when using these two protocols and helps ensure organizations experience a smooth and successful transition to IPv6.”


Mobile web performance: Popping holes in a few mobile myths

Written by Matthew Poepsel is vice president of Performance Strategies at Compuware.

As smart phones become a regular part of more people’s lives, the speed at which websites load and other data is transmitted is becoming more and more important.

Historically, the consensus has been that most people expect slower website, app or video streaming performance on mobile devices – regardless of the carrier. The inconvenience, it was said, was offset by the novelty of the “anywhere web”. However, our research paints a very different picture, specifically that the “…well, it’s just wireless!” rationale is quickly losing ground.

Gomez benchmarks reveal a 9-second difference in response time from the leading mobile website to the site ranked 15th, even for the same device on the same wireless carrier. This means that even on the same network, some websites have found a way to offer stellar speeds while others are making users play the waiting game.

Another common (mis)perception is that visitors, accustomed to slower load times on mobile carriers, will wait longer for a web page to load on their wireless service. That’s not the case.

We monitored actual end-users and compared their mobile vs. other browsing habits. What we found was revealing (see chart below): after 3 seconds of wait time, abandonment rates for mobile devices are quite similar to those of desktop browsing. So mobile users on wireless carriers will cut you a tiny bit of slack before bolting, but not much.

Clearly, consumers are getting more impatient and many web businesses are simply not meeting their expectations. The Compuware Gomez Retail Satisfaction Index for the 2010 holiday shopping season showed an aggregate mobile score of 47.3, which is considered only “tolerable” performance in comparison to a 84.2 score for desktop websites.

So if speed isn’t just about the wireless network, why are some websites so slow when others are near-desktop fast? Simply put, high-performing companies understand the “need for speed” better than their pokey counterparts. Speed demons proactively optimize and tune their websites accordingly. Here are some best practices for mobile site owners who want to speed things up:

Benchmark against the performance leaders in your industry. The response time leaders in your category set the standard against which your customers will evaluate your site. By basing your performance levels on the leaders, you’ll always keep pace.

Optimize your mobile site for speed. Most mobile users consider speed more important than features. So streamline web content for your mobile site by dropping unwanted features and unnecessarily “heavy” content like graphics and other images.

Measure website speed from the end-user and under various loads. This practice separates the hares from the tortoises. Taking the end-user view helps verify that all elements of a web application (including those delivered from third-parties) can effectively scale. Just because your datacenter’s dashboard shows green lights, it doesn’t mean your wireless visitors are having a good experience.

Mobile device capabilities have exploded in the last two years, but unfortunately mobile device performance hasn’t kept pace. Speed-wise, wireless mobile is somewhat reminiscent of where the fixed web was ten years ago.

As the novelty of the “anywhere web” wears off, users will want mobile websites that perform. Businesses that embrace mobile performance — whether they are startups or established companies — will grow site traffic, improve sales conversions and enhance their brands.


Compuware Announces Annual Gomez Best of the Web Performance Award Winners

Report Recognizes 2010 Top Performing Web and Mobile Sites in Six Industries

DETROIT, March 21, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Compuware Corporation (Nasdaq:CPWR), the technology performance company, today announced the Compuware Gomez 2010 Best of the Web and Mobile Performance Awards winners. The results have been published in the “Best of the Web 2010: Compuware Gomez Web and Mobile Performance Awardscomprehensive report. The report includes an analysis of each industry, detailed measurements of each winner’s Web or mobile site 2010 performance and Web performance best practices.

The annual Gomez Best of the Web awards showcase the leaders in Web and mobile site performance from six major industries across the United States – financial services, government, healthcare, media, retail and travel. The winners in each industry are determined based on the response time, availability and consistency of their Web and mobile sites in 2010.

Four website winners in each industry are awarded with Gold, Silver, Bronze and Most Improved awards. In select industries, there are also Mobile Leaders and One Web winners, which take into account home page and business process transaction performance when measured from the Internet backbone and the Gomez Last Mile, as well as mobile home page performance.

Only four companies in this year’s 2010 Best of the Web 2010 Web and Mobile rankings received the Gold award for two consecutive years – Delta Airlines, Fidelity, Newegg and Regions Bank. The Best of the Web 2010 leaders in each industry category include:

Financial Services
Banking: Web Gold – Regions Bank (2009 & 2010)
Banking: One Web – Branch Banking &Trust
Banking: Mobile Leader – Capital One
Brokerage: Web Gold – Fidelity (2009 & 2010)
Health Information
Web Gold – United Health
Media
Web Gold – CBS News.com
Retail
Web Gold – Newegg (2009 & 2010)
One Web – Newegg and QVC (tie)
Mobile Leader – QVC
Travel
Airlines: Web Gold – Delta (2009 & 2010)
Hotels: Web Gold – Radisson
Travel Mobile Leader – JetBlue
U.S. Governments
Web Gold – FEMA

“Today, companies are challenged to provide comprehensive and dynamic web and mobile sites that are competitively fast,” said Bruce Reading, Senior Vice President, Compuware Application Performance Management. “The 2010 award winners have made Web and mobile performance a key business initiative and have set the standard in their industries for delivering highly available, high-performing Web experiences that enhance customer satisfaction.”

The “Best of the Web 2010: Compuware Gomez Web and Mobile Performance Awards report can be downloaded at:http://www.gomez.com/benchmarks/best-of-the-web-2010/

Download “Best of the Web” pdf  Gomez Best-of-Web-2010


Android Web Browser Faster Than iPhone – Or Is It?

By Jared Newman, PCWorld    Mar 17, 2011 7:48 AM

If you want the fastest smartphone Web browser, get an Android phone instead of an iPhone.

But if you want the fastest Web browser on a smartphone, definitely get an iPhone instead of an Android phone.

Huh?

These contradictory statements are the result of two smartphone browser speed tests, released within a month of each other. The latest comes from Blaze Software, which claims that Samsung’s Nexus S smartphone with Android 2.3 loaded non-mobile optimized Web pages more than a second faster on average than an iPhone 4 running iOS 4.3. The speed difference for mobile Websites was negligible. An earlier study from Compuware Gomez, however, says the iPhone loads pages nearly 17 seconds faster on average than Android.

Who are these companies that came up with drastically different test results? They’re both in the business of optimizing Websites, selling their services to companies who want their pages to load faster. In other words, they both do a lot of Website speed testing, and neither of them are affiliated with Apple or Google.

As for methodology, Blaze gathered data from 45,000 downloads from Fortune 1000 Websites over 3G and Wi-Fi connections, loading each page three times, according to Wired. Gomez used data from its own business customers, analyzing 282 million Web pages served across 200 popular Websites. In other words, both companies used real-world testing instead of benchmarks or closed networks.

And yet, their results are completely different.


Mobile browser speed study from Compuware Gomez

Perhaps the big takeaway here is one that we’ve known for some time: browser speed tests can be pretty unreliable. With real-world testing, there too many variables, such as network congestion and server problems. Closed networks and benchmarks, on the other hand, aren’t really representative of what real users will experience.

In any case, if you’re complaining that your super-futuristic smartphone renders pages a second or two slower than the competition, you may want to step back, take a walk and rethink your priorities.