The Hunt for the Unicorn Performance Metric
Slow websites suck. We know that intuitively. But how do we define “slow”? And how do we define “suck”? These are ephemeral words, yet as developers, designers, UX pros, and performance engineers, we’re tasked with quantifying them, and then moving on to the next step of figuring out how fast is fast enough for our users.
The key to a good user experience is quickly delivering the content your visitors care about the most. This is easy to say, but tricky to do. Every site has unique content and unique user engagement goals, which is why measuring how quickly critical content renders is a hugely challenging task. In the past, we relied on metrics like page load time, start render, and time to first paint to measure user experience, but we now know that these metrics don’t tell the full story. There’s a lot of competition to define the next big unicorn performance metric, but does this unicorn actually exist?
In this talk, Tammy will walk you through a brief history of UX and web performance research. She’ll highlight key studies that connect the dots between performance and user experience. She’ll also demystify the current state of performance metrics and help you understand what you need to focus on for your site and your users.
Chief Experience Officer at SpeedCurve
Tammy has spent the past two decades studying how people use the web. Since 2009, she’s focused on the intersection between web performance, user experience, and business metrics. Her book Time Is Money: The Business Value of Web Performance (O’Reilly, 2016) is a distillation of much of this research (but there’s always more to be learned).
Tammy is a frequent speaker at events like Shop.org, IRCE, and Smashing Conference. She also co-curates WPOstats.com, an ongoing collection of performance case studies.