Poor web performance? Hit your own Too-Slow button

We were discussing how to know when a user was unhappy about the performance of a browser based application and how they might most productively vent their spleen about it. My suggestion was to have a button on the browser named ‘Too Slow’ and encourage users to click on the button if they felt a page was loading too slow. Here’s one way which is free and easy. There are others.

The process had to be quick, simple, timely, and completely intuitive for the user with zero training. And, it had to provide maximum detailed information for technical resources capable of analysing the information.

I loaded the free performance bookmarklet from GTMetrix into my browser (Chrome) and changed it’s name to ‘Too Slow’. I viewed a page that was too slow (the Linkedin group page of the discussion, actually) clicked on my ‘Too Slow’ button and shared the resulting report to Google+ limited to within my own organization. The whole process took less than 30 seconds and cost me the effort of two whole clicks. It produced this report.

If I, as a user, cared enough to complain about a page load time, I could certainly handle 2 clicks to register my complaint and automatically provide a detailed breakdown of the incident to the right people. I didn’t need to understand what I was sending, just be confident that it captured every technical detail for someone else to analyse.

That said, in addition to the detailed reports about performance it also spells out the things you need to do to improve performance with reference to standards published by Page Speed and Yslow

This will give you a one-time snapshot each time a user is willing to do it and it is a good way to focus on the pages that users decide are problematic. Then you can automate that navigation trail with continuous monitoring using Appneta’s PathView / TraceView suite. It includes integrated browser waterfall, detailed network performance stats and code-level application internals analysis. Quick, easy and amazingly comprehensive.

I still have the ‘Too Slow’ Button on my browser tool bar and often use it to delve into poor web page performance, but soon move on to the next problem after Appneta starts taking care of the continuous duties.