Application Performance Trumps User Experience

I am not talking about The Donald here, thankfully. I am talking about how fervently impatient users are when it comes to website and mobile app response time. You can design a brilliant, luxurious, and intuitively interactive user experience, but if it doesn't perform well — as in response time — then the users will hate it. They don't want to wait. Why should they? They will just go somewhere else. Your job is to design and implement user experiences that are lovable and that performance spectacularly. 

Application Performance Management Starts During UX Design

Forrester defines performance as:

The speed with which an application performs a function that meets business requirements and user expectations.

To insure speedy application performance, organizations should start application performance management (APM) during the application design process. Too few user experience (UX) designers understand the performance implications of their designs. But, application architects must also help UX design professionals by finding clever ways to:

  • Boost performance.
  • Mitigate the effects of scale on performance.
  • Insure high availability.

Continuous APM Monitoring And Management Is Essential

Once an app is deployed, there are many factors that can lead to performance degradation, including scale, dependencies on third-party components, infrastructure problems, and new software releases. Monitoring and managing performance once an application is deployed is essential using tools such as Compuware Gomez and AppDynamics.

Applications that go down have zero performance, as loudly illustrated by Amazon EC2's recent failure. Monitoring is essential, but designing for fault tolerance and planning for failure scenarios is an essential management imperative.

Avoid Being Trumped

The bottom line: Don't let poor performance trump your great user experience design:

Comments

Front-end performance is only half the problem

While PageSpeed and YSlow! are awesome to help you compress/inline js/images, we find that the strong trend towards API-driven RESTful apps have lots of issues with concurrency and scalability. See http://bit.ly/ggS5Hl for how we used http://blitz.io to help one of our customers go from 1000 concurrent users to 10's of thousands of users. Lots of bottlenecks along the way, none related to the front-end page loading performance.