Many years ago I stumbled into the web performance space and quickly became fascinated by it. Over the years I have worked at many companies, all involved in performance in one way or another; from Gomez to F5, and, most recently, Instart Logic, and watched as the space evolved. Joining Catchpoint feels a little like returning to where it all started 15 years ago.
Some of the topics that I hope to blog about for Catchpoint include HTTP/2, user perception of performance, and the digital experience in general. The web has changed a lot since I first started working in the performance space:
- I now have fiber connectivity to my home with connection speeds of up to 1 GB compared to a 56K dial up connection.
- The web is with me everywhere I go with my smart phone.
- Web pages have grown exponentially in size.
- Netscape and Internet Explorer are no longer the most used browsers.
- Word of web site outages and failures spread quickly via social media.
- Users are less patient than ever when it comes to waiting for a web page to load.
The world is more digital than it was 15 years ago and organizations needs to understand the users’ digital experience continue to change and evolve to keep up. When I began this journey the focus was on application performance management (APM) and page load times. Today, the focus has shifted to be more user-focused than application-focused. Metrics that attempt to measure the user perception have emerged such as speed index, perceptual speed index, and critical resources index.
While the application is important, the user’s perception of the experience has come to the forefront. The application may be performing well, but if the user is biased based on a poor experience previously or if they are just having a bad day it can impact their experience. The focus on the user has resulted in a shift from internally focused APM to digital experience management and a renewed interest in synthetic and real user monitoring.
The nature of applications have also changed during this time. They have moved to the cloud and are now comprised of multiple third party elements. This has led to some feeling as though they have lost control and visibility of the performance of the application. One thing that has not changed is the need for organizations to do more with less and a focus on customer growth and retention.
Without a doubt the web will continue to change in the coming years and I look forward to being a part of it and contributing to the Catchpoint blogs regularly.