Authoring an optimal experience for users is an integral part of development, but for many developers performance can be a moving target. Even when adhering to current best practices and delivering satisfactory site performance, changes to the ecosystem can upset the balance. These changes could be new features introduced, new browsers released to the market, shifting browser market share, or even new hardware/operating system releases (especially with the recent release of Windows 8/IE10).
How should developers react to these changes? Not by simply following convention, but by actively monitoring the performance of sites, running in-house performance tests, and proactively gathering site-specific metrics. Not everyone has the same user base—the best practices that work today may not be as relevant as user bases change or evolve.
By monitoring the performance of sites over time, developers can track how changes impact performance and react in real-time to these changes. If a framework for performance monitoring is established, developers can then take optimizations to the next level and run multivariate tests to see just how much improvement can be made, or pinpoint what focus areas return the most value for investment.
Simply monitoring is the first step, but learning to communicate findings to teams of developers and larger organizations presents another level of analytics. Using the R Language, developers can craft charts and data visualizations to make their findings immediately digestible no matter the experience level of their audiences.
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