Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Defining Standards for Web Page Performance in Business Applications


Garret Rempel (MNP Consulting)


Distinctions between standalone computer applications and web-based applications are becoming increasingly blurry, and client-server communication is being used as a part of everyday computing. This is resulting in user expectations of web page performance converging with their expectations of standalone application performance. Existing industry standards for web page performance are widely varied and inconsistent, and standards based on surveying users are especially so. We illustrate this inconsistency with examples from published literature and industry studies. Considering a specific class of web-based applications (high usage, minimal overhead, business web applications), we attempt to define a set of industry standards by conducting a case study of an implementation of an industry-leading software suite. We measure the application’s performance over time and contrast its performance with the frequency of reported end-user performance complaints. Taking these measurements, we define a specific set of measurable performance standards that, when met, would achieve a high level of performance satisfaction among a large percentage of users. Based on our examination of existing industry standards, we know there are limitations in users’ ability to define consistent performance requirements. Here we present a method that proposes to produce a set of performance requirements through a user interview process that closely matches the performance standards defined by the case study. We then examine the results achieved by applying this method to a comparable web application within the same company as the case study to demonstrate that the requirements produced match the performance observations of the case study analysis.

DOI: 10.1145/2668930.2688056

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