Treat Web Performance Issues Like Software Bugs
When was the last time you received, saw, or even heard of a web performance issues report that preceded or followed a bug report?
Why is it that when someone reports a bug in our software, that bug gets: (1) thoroughly investigated, (2) documented, and (3) scheduled within some form or fashion of bug tracking software, then (4) monitored and (5) measured until it’s (6) fixed, and then we (7) send out an update to all parties affected to make sure they know we’ve addressed the bug, but when our web site’s performance is sub-par, we don’t do any of these things? We call our hosting company or see what we can find with a browser plugin or tool. Everything that represents our brands today is driven by our internet-based software, and yet we treat web performance issues – both desktop and mobile – like we always have. We should treat web performance issues just exactly like we treat software bugs.
Web performance issues are just bugs, and they deserve the same type of attention to detail that we give to bugs in a line of code. After all, web performance issues usually happen much earlier in the user experience, driving potential users, customers, and subscribers away long before they ever get to our carefully crafted and maintained software. So how are web performance issues (WPIs) just like software bugs?
- WPIs are introduced by mistake.
- WPIs are “unintended behavior”, the very definition of a bug.
- WPIs are cheaper to fix before they go into production.
- Some WPIs can only be fixed in code, which requires them to be addressed during the development process, prior to deployment.
Do WPIs look, sound, and act just like software bugs? By the descriptions above, they do, and they have the same – if not worse – negative consequences on the user experience as software bugs do.
Here’s how we can and should treat WPIs just like we address software bugs. Think of this list as a “Best Practices” for dealing with web performance issues.
- Find them before your customers do.
- Test early and often to find bugs quickly. It’s cheaper that way too.
- Automate testing if possible (hint hint: Zoompf!).
- Assign any issue a severity/impact.
- File into your defect/bug tracker.
- Prioritize/track as you would a functional bug.
At Zoompf, we are in the business of addressing web performance issues. That’s why we treat performance issues just like the best software developers treat software issues and bugs. The end result of a WPI or bug is the same: a bad user experience. And the result of treating WPIs like you treat software bugs is the same as well: happy users with great experience.