Yottaa announced yesterday, in their newsletter, that they have launched their open website performance testing platform at WebsiteTest.com.
Yottaa is a Boston-based startup focusing on delivering website performance testing and optimization services. With the new website, which they claim to be the ‘first of its kind’, they are opening up web performance testing to us all. At a first glance, it looks like a lead generation website, no harm done there, because the tool is very functional and useful to anyone looking to optimize their website’s performance.
First Of Its Kind
Just to clarify… there are more websites out there that allow for performance testing, the one at the top of my mind being WebPageTest.org. So take it with a little grain of salt… call it an attempt at effective marketing.
Back to business…
Along with generating leads for the sales team, WebsiteTest.com come with a nice collection of functionalities, reports and insights to help anyone get started learn more about what is slowing their website down.
By simply entering the URL you want examined, you start the test. It takes a few seconds, up to a few minutes depending on the settings of the test. WebsiteTest.com allows for various different types of test. The main ones beings:
- Single browser, location and connection type (one browser, one location and one connectivity for testing)
- Multi browser webpage (Compare webpage in IE, Firefox and Chrome browsers)
- Multi location webpage (Compare webpage from different locations)
- Multi connectivity webpage (Compare webpage from different last mile networks)
So in other words… test one page with fixed settings, or test one page with different connectivity, location and browser settings. This should offer some rich data. Easily compare performance from different locations (US, Europe, Asia, South America offered), different browsers (IE9, FF3.6 and Chrome) and connections (56K, DSL, Cable and FIOS). There is no news on future options, but I am sure that they will expand this list for all 3 items over time.
With several advanced options you can decide to run an X amount of tests as quickly as possible or within a certain timeframe. The advanced options will also allow you to determine load types, first visits always (dump cache on every run) or first and repeat visits.
All in all a nice set of options. What does the data tell us though?
Alright… I seriously need to do something with the insights I got when I ran a test against this blog. The page load times were horrible
Reports are broken down into the following parts:
The summary score gives you a run down of the test you just performed. Connection, location, browser, date time… nothing too exciting. And the Yottaa Score. Not sure how serious I need to take this. There is no further information on the page to tell me exactly what this means to me.
Summary Data is broken down into 3 parts:
- Front-end User Experience
- Back-end User Experience
- Content Complexity
The Front-end User Experience gives you a quick summary on items such as Time to Title, Start Render and Display. The last one is one that I find the most intriguing. How soon will a visitor actually start seeing content… 10 seconds in my case *feeling ashamed*.
The Back-end User Experience… yes, of course it is the opposite of the Front-end… again another list of times. Time To First Byte is a critical metric to look at. This is basically the time it take for your server to respond to a request and actually start transmitting data to the visitor’s browser.
Content Complexity… read more further down in this blog post.
Page Loading Screenshots
Since I am very visually inclined, I love this part of the report. The screenshots will show you a timeline of the loading of the page. The screenshots seem to be taken at an undetermined, maybe random or at certain predefined events, moments during the test. This way you get a clear view of what a visitor will actually see (or don’t see) while they are waiting for the page to load.
The last part of the default report will offer you 3 visualization options for the data. At this point in the report, you will also find a link to the HTTP archive log (HAR file) for those of you who want to view the data offline.
The Content Complexity is nothing more than a breakdown of the different types of elements on your page, aggregated per type. An additional chart will show you the combined weight of the elements.
The Waterfall Chart is one that should be common by now. It is in this chart that individual page elements are shown, and the place/time in which they were loaded in the browser. The data is linked to the earlier mentioned Front-end and Back-end User Experience information. One added extra metric is the Time to Interactivity. It’s the red line, all the way to the right… I know, I know… soooo slow. 20+ seconds. Sorry dear visitor
The HTTP Timeline is a basic overview of the Request and Response Headers. Use the Tabs to navigate through the different data sets.
Yottaa’s WebsiteTest.com seems to be a formidable candidate compared to the already present alternatives. There are a few features that I am missing, when comparing to the latter, the main one being the option to compare several URL’s at the same time (such as a list of competitors) and having the tool creature a video of the recorded screenshots, comparing all the URL’s in a single view.
Nevertheless, WebsiteTest.com will give you enough insights to get started, or at least for you to present to stakeholders. It is not a problem solver, but more of a problem finder. It will be up to you (and me in the case of the presented data here) what you do with the information…
One things that I would like Yottaa to do, is publicize a list of IP addresses of their test servers so that I can exclude them from my Web Analytics tools, because they will spike your visits. Other than that… I would say, go out there and test your website or your comeptitors’ website yourself. Have fun and let me know what you think!
[button color=green url=http://www.websitetest.com]Visit WebsiteTest.com[/button]
If you want to view the data from my test, click here.