New Adventures 2019 | Part Three: Performance
Why should you care about your websites performance?
Last week in Nottingham, I was lucky enough to attend Harry Roberts' workshop at New Adventures which discussed website performance and how we can leverage it to improve user experience, resulting in better results for our clients.
Throughout the day Harry covered many different topics which discussed Google’s tool sets, such as Analytics and Lighthouse for Chrome (heavily including dev tools). We took a deep dive into Google Analytics to find where websites bottlenecked and how we could identify room for improvement to drastically benefit frontend performance. Harry elaborated on tips and tricks he’d found from his previous experiences for filtering through different metrics to manipulate the data, in such a way that it helps to establish and pinpoint performance issues, that might have otherwise been concealed.
We also looked at Google Chrome's Dev Tools in more detail where Harry revealed a secret menu involving 6 taps of the SHIFT key to allow for more options to be displayed... I'll leave you to find out what this means.
The importance of website performance
Harry then posed the question, as developers we know that performance is important, but how do we convince our managers and clients?
The idea of “selling performance” was discussed and telling clients what they want to hear. For instance, you can have a faster website, you can make the experience super smooth and easy for you customers and probably most importantly, you can generate more conversions. It's all great and positive and backing it up with the data available (or obtaining the data if not) will only prove claims of the importance of performance and that without it, users become impatient and distrusting - which simply leads to website exits.
Harry highlighted areas to pull the data from to use it productively when placing it in front of a client, so they could sincerely see the genuine flaws in a websites performance.
We discussed how to measure performance and understand the most relevant and beneficial data available to us. That custom timings are the best to test for and they’re seen as superior stats to the likes of page weight, number requests and fully loaded pages. We need to take more time to appreciate custom time loads when considering the user our client is appealing to and where in the world they're viewing content, based on data hubs and internet providers.
We even looked at tools we’re accustomed to using as developers such as WebpageTest to test a website’s performance, and how we can deep dive into more advanced settings to inform our development for optimal results. As well as how to structure our HTML pages correctly to ensure the page knows what to load and when to do it so we can load in every resource efficiently and keep that waterfall steep!
Overall the workshop was incredibly informative and highlighted many more areas I can focus on for optimal performance of client websites in the future. Big thanks to Harry for running the workshop (until we got kicked out). It was great value for money and would 10/10 recommend to a friend or colleague when New Adventures is in the city again.