Web Performance Culture

If you want to improve web performance at your company, creating a Performance Culture is the best way to maintain it. This video explains how to do this in the best way I’ve seen yet. Check it out! (My Summary notes below)

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bRLtJHo0pI

Presenters:

  • Paul Lewis (Google dev advocate)
  • Lara Swanson (Etsy perf)

Notes:

SUMMARY

  1. Gather Data
  2. Get VIP Buy-In
  3. Educate your team
  4. Surface the data daily
  5. Celebrate your victories

Some stats

  • Percentage of total global internet traffic on mobile: ~40% in 2014 % in US: ~30% in 2013
  • mobile networks add ~600ms of extra connection latency people leave when your site is slow
  • 40% abandon site when it takes more than 3s to load (find our bounce-rate stats on this)

Options:

  1. Ignore it
  2. Assign performance cops (burnout, not sustainable)
  3. Build a performance culture

Culture:

  • A way of identifying yourself and others.
  • A way of thinking, social cueues.
  • A way of doing
  • A way of celebrating

Performance cultures are a team sport, everyone has to play. culture change is scary and hard

Real things said to Lara:

  • “I don’t want to think about mobile”
  • “Building for desktop and mobile takes twice as long”
  • “Responsive web design is bad for performance”
  • “Everything changes too fast”
  • “But the important bit is above the fold!”

Determine spectrum of high-view screen sizes and shapes to determine policy
CHANGE IS CONSTANT AND IT IS GOOD

So how do we create performance cultures?

  • Gather data Know your traffic stats: devices, geography, user journeys. You can’t bring people onboard without understanding this story
  • Know your load stats total load time and perceived load time (start render, speed index) use webpagetest
  • Know your render stats memory usage, fps and jank

Get the VIPs invested

  • Share the data to enlist the help of your VIPs there are few things more powerful than getting important people invested in your subject send VIPs perf conversion stats regularly
  • “200ms delay = 0.3% engagement loss, etc” know what kind of metrics the vip cares about
  • “at etsy, +160kb pageweight = increased mobile bounce rate 12%” (prefer positive stats)
  • “When eliminated jank on activity feed, people favorited more often and more items (engagement metric)”
  • Make an improvement, show video of difference to convert VIP to cause compare site load locally to globally
  • Get VIP to FEEL it, so they can empower others

Performance is a team sport

  • Equip team with what they need
  • Team sport, get everyone involved educated start documenting your best practices in a public place
  • “Doing things this way works because of this:”
  • Invest in a device lab
  • Devicelab sandbox code is on github, pushes to all devices at same time
  • MAKE TIME FOR REAL TESTING
  • EMBRACE RESPONSIVE
  • Teaching your team about their performance impact will empower them.

Surface performance in people’s daily workflows

  • ADD PERF TO BUILD TOOLS
  • Automate image compression
  • Get a command line tool running that runs performance tests and compares your new work to your performance budget
  • (Have a performance budget). Build this into your continuous integration environment
  • Use these tools to report back to dashboards
  • Show start render and speed index on graphs over time (3 months)
  • Use median times for load time stats
  • Teams can release a feature, and then watch dashboard to see how it affected things

Etsy’s Perf toolbar

  • Etsy has a perf toolbar at top of every page if you are logged in as an etsy employee.
  • It is a narrow strip, shows backend render time, start render, and something else to equal total load time.
  • If one of the items fails the perf budget, it lets them know right there, with a link to the SLA that it violated .
  • It provided a clear baseline for what’s acceptable.
  • This is visible in dev, testing, and production environments
  • SURFACING YOUR TEAM’S PERFORMANCE DATA WILL IMPROVE THEIR WORK (during their workflow)

Celebrate your performance successes

  • Celebrate everything that improves
  • Seth Walker published Etsy’s performance on etsy’s business blog, super-public homepage was a huge outlier, very slow
  • As soon as that was published, people got excited about it, and the developers teamed up to fix it.
  • By the next time they published a report, they had made a huge improvement, they dropped time from 1610ms to 480ms for home page

SHARE YOUR FINDINGS

  • Make sure you are celebrating externally the things that help you improve things along the way.
  • Its important to do this internally as well. (they made a key person a performance hero for affecting the biggest change (“Baumgartner” load time drop on graph))
  • Celebrate engineers and designers who make huge improvements to the products’ perf without being on perf team
  • They celebrated with lots of high-5s, donuts and cake

REWARD YOUR INNOVATORS

  • Its not about coming down with a hammer, its not about being a cop or a janitor
  • Its really about celebrating improvement and getting people excited and invested in performance
  • CELEBRATING WINS WILL MOTIVATE YOUR TEAM TO BE PERFORMANCE CHAMPIONS

This is a journey, will have to refresh the cycle constantly, it is continual
WE ARE IN A PERIOD OF DRAMATIC CHANGE

Mobile traffic is going way up

  • Performance-constrained devices becoming more popular
  • Building for tomorrow/today means catering for “performance-constrained” devices
  • You can only get there if EVERYONE in your organization CARES about PERFORMANCE

TAKEAWAY: BUILD PERFORMANCE CULTURES