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7th June 2011

Monitor what Users do on your website

Aka:  Do what the Customer Does – not an artificial simplification of it.

If you want to know WHY users do what they do on your site:  web analytics can tell you the What:  but only by seeing what the user experience is like 24/7 as they actually ‘do what users do’ – can you find out if their behaviour is impacted by slow downs at busy periods in certain parts of the user journeys: or by pages with unexpected or wrong content shown.

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9th April 2011

4 things to learn from Load Testing Tesco.com – the world’s biggest Grocery site

One of the nice things in my job, is I get days out of the office spending time with some cool eCommerce guys who have to manage some big and interesting sites, planning some innovative and interesting website testing and monitoring.

Even more interesting is sharing a speaking engagement with people we’ve worked with, and hearing what they are willing to say in public about the web performance projects we’ve shared!

Luke Fairless at Tesco.com is one of those guys. He juggles keeping the world’s biggest grocery site running, with a continual stack of projects to add functionality for customers.

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18th March 2011

Video Streaming Monitoring – Is your CDN value for money?

We’ve seen a definite step up in the number of clients using video to engage with their visitors.  Some are doing simple stuff, just a couple of videos, and keeping it to a simple download before viewing delivery model.

But the increasing number who are using third party CDN suppliers to provide the video streaming, are finding that once the user journey based monitoring is applied, that some CDN’s are providing quite different value for money: and quite different levels of problems to users.

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18th February 2011

Screenshots: Errors on Travel site, confidence grows with monitoring

The bugs in the travel websites test we did this week, produced some nice screenshot examples of how not to treat your users.

As we always do when setting up website monitoring for a an ecommerce travel website, we set up a few User Journeys, some 7 or 8 page long, to reproduce the process of finding a holiday.Various flows including searching, and choosing at random from the packages offered; as well as some that went straight to the special offers with a minimum of searching.

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29th September 2010

Monitoring Holiday websites – not easy given the caching bashing

Looking at  the web performance of eCommerce sites, there are some things that make the Holiday sector unique.  We work with a number of holiday companies and they have a unique challenge when it comes to accurate website monitoring.

When a holiday season nears its end, holiday companies are often presented with an increasing number of failed ‘user journeys’ that occur when a holiday is found by the visitor but is actually already sold out.  And these failed journeys need to be identified and quantified, if they are to enable an accurate reflection of lost sales.

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28th September 2010

Website Load Testing with LoadRunner – running out of road

I just came out of an interesting load test planning meeting. It was with an organisation we’d worked with on web performance testing for some time, but this is the first time we’ll be doing major web load testing with them, as part of a bigger ITIL Capacity Planning delivery.

Like a number of companies, they have used LoadRunner in house for a few years, some of the guys in their test team are trained up on how to script in LoadRunner, and in LoadRunner best practise, etc.

What’s interesting is that they are moving away from LoadRunner, and calling on us to do the web load testing that they need.

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25th August 2010

Web site failures – expect the unexpected

As web performance testers, we regularly see subtle technical issues cause substantial failures in website user journeys -we expect the expected.

Whether in 24/7 monitoring, when our multi-user-journey approach routinely highlights that all areas of a web site may be functioning fine, apart from the one crucial  journey, maybe CheckOut: or Add to Basket.

Or if we’re running a web load test, it can sometimes result in a a whole site stalling: fortunately this normally happens only for brand new sites being load tested well before say a Christmas rush *.

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22nd July 2010

The Marketers new badge of success – the site crashed!

Interesting bit of marketing spin this week from Marie Claire magazine – who reckon that their latest recommended must-have beauty product was so much in demand that it crashed the Boots.com web site!

Confidence in Boots takes a knock from that, doesn’t it? And today (3 days later) , the product is in stock.

Humm, kind of bad manners of them to tell tales on Boot’s website problems.

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30th June 2010

Online Retailing – cautious about the future?

“We won’t see retailers that don’t have transactional websites in 10 years time”

Internet Retailing Magazine write in The Key To Retail 2010.

10 years? Why so cautious?

Any day now – would be my take on that.

Of course, as other folk have recorded, despite market growth, the credit crunch is impacting retailers online.

So it’s clear that the online commercial environment is set to become far more competitive in the near future, and as a result the web customer is likely to have higher expectations regarding their online experience. Respectively we can expect to see an increase in so called ‘web rage’ as users display even lower tolerance levels with site errors and slow page delivery; when there are so many other websites a mouse-click away vying for their attention, and more than willing to take their business, customers are under no obligation to remain brand loyal.

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1st May 2009

Lost sales – not anymore

It sounds like it should be the first metric we all want from our website – what’s the money value of Lost Sales due to problems on the site this month? And how do we fix them, and not lose the same again next month?

I’m talking about problems in the final delivery – the website platform itself – where we’ve brought buyers to the site and then let them down through any number of root causes: sporadic technology glitches, treacly slow experience for maybe 10% of users, code upgrades that killed functionality for a few precious hours and so on.

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