How Do Web Performance Issues Impact Your Life Online?

from the share-your-insights dept

Over the past couple of months, as part of a sponsorship program with New Relic, we've been reaching out to web developers for feedback on online performance issues, and giving them a chance to win some Techdirt perks. Now, for the last entry in the series, we're opening the floor up to everyone who uses web apps and services (so... everyone!)

We've all seen the digital panic that ensues when a massive service like Gmail or Facebook goes down for even a small portion of users. Smaller versions of the same thing take place every day with services that are less widely adopted but just as important to the people who rely on them. It doesn't even take an outage to cause problems — frequent slowdowns and interruptions can quickly cause a massive productivity traffic jam. With the degree to which we live our lives and do our work online, service problems are much more than a minor inconvenience, and at the wrong moment can be a disaster.

So we want to know: how does this impact the way you use the web? Are you prepared for interruptions in the online apps and services you use most? Have you ever abandoned an app for spotty performance, or adopted one specifically for its reliability? We're looking for everything in the way of insights, anecdotes and ideas about performance issues online.

You can share your responses on the Insight Community. Remember, if you have a Techdirt account, then you're already a member and can head on over to the case page to submit your insights.

One best response chosen by New Relic and the Techdirt editorial team will receive a free one-year Watercooler subscription on Techdirt (regular price $50). The subscription includes access to the Crystal Ball and the Insider Chat, plus five monthly First Word/Last Word credits, and can be applied to your own Techdirt account or gifted to someone else.

The case will be open for four weeks, with the best response announced shortly afterwards. For developers, there's also still time to submit responses for our last question about tackling these issues as a web service provider. You can share your insight from both sides of the equation and get two chances to win.

We look forward to your insights!

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  • icon
    Todd Knarr (profile), 26 Nov 2013 @ 11:15am

    I'm probably old-fashioned, but I don't even begin to worry about an outage until the service has been down for hours and I won't start to alter plans until it's been down for a day or two. Outages and failures happen, that's a fact of life, so I'm prepared to go do other things until they've fixed the problem and brought things back up.

    Sure, there's things like my e-mail that I can't afford to do that with. In those cases I run my own services so if things fail I can fix them, or I get the service from someone I can have a contract with that specifies how quickly they'll fix it and how they'll handle problems. And I have backup plans so if something truly goes south irreparably I don't have to panic, I can just fall back to plan B and keep on going. The trick, of course, is to make sure you don't run out of plan Bs before you run out of problems.

    Being in a position where you're critically dependent on a service that someone else controls and you have no contractual guarantees of performance/service for? Bad place to be. If you decide to stay there, accept that you're guaranteeing you'll find yourself in a bind on a regular basis. Once you've accepted that it's inevitable, it's much less stressful when it happens.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2013 @ 8:00pm

    Wow…… this is sooooo like Step 2……………. *crickets*

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Nov 2013 @ 8:17am

    I began working as a web developer around 1998, and I lament the fact that no one is concerned with page size or performance anymore.

    What were once rules of thumb about page size and performance have not been modified for the times by todays web developers. Instead, they have been discarded entirely, having become incompatible with development time restrictions, developer training focus, and the marketing departments who are now elbow deep in front end design (something we didn't have to contend with 15 years ago.)

    I am not nearly as concerned about services going down as I am saddened by the day-to-day, normal / expected performance of web pages. JavaScript and Flash have SO MUCH potential, but 95% of their use is for marketing and analytics, efforts which don't give a damn about your network speed or computer memory. God help you if you're on dial up or need to make an emergency facebook (or Techdirt) post from a satellite internet provider.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Bayan Rafeh (profile), 27 Nov 2013 @ 12:03pm

    I have an adequate internet connection(128 kbps), which is too slow for heavy duty usage but fine for day to day surfing of the web. It used to be though, until developers started making unrealistic assumptions about their users.

    Let me give an example.

    I'm a heavy google+ user, since all the tech circles are on there but the page is literally unusable for periods of time ranging from a few seconds to 15 minutes while the page and all the different services load. Twitter on the other hand loads rather quickly, it only takes a few seconds to load.

    Despite the fact that I use the two services for entirely different things, I started leaning more towards twitter for about a month, and the kicker is I noticed two or three days ago that I was actually doing it. I spent weeks not noticing I was spending less and less time on google+.

    Having a unique service wasn't enough to keep me using it, page load time affected my usage greatly.

    Developers: smaller pages means less code therefore less maintainence time. We're not asking for miracles here. We're simply asking that you not to assume that everyone has google fiber at home.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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