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Guest View: Web load testing: Getting it right with just three steps

Joseph Lee, Solution Director for ASEAN, Dynatrace Asia | Oct. 16, 2014
While web load testing forms one of many components in the information systems network, testing plays an integral role in keeping companies from the negative impacts of a bad user experience.

This requires new test methods to track the entire trail of information, including information served by entities not within the business entity's control. Additionally, conducting tests from users' perspective also allows for any system gaps to be identified, determining and fixing areas that could frustrate users even before end users actually experience the poor performance. From here, the question lies in how businesses define user experience, which leads us to the next step in the testing process.

Step 2: Gathering the team

In order to effectively determine the goals and achievements for each test, it is important to first define the ideal user experience. This means gathering the right stakeholders to provide input on what that experience entails. Team members can also provide information perspectives from different angles for testing and as such, the team can include developers, testers, analysts, managers, product management, sales and marketing, IT support, operations and the project executive sponsor.

Having these stakeholders onboard means business can more effectively determine the right concerns to address, the right targets to achieve and how these targets should be measured. While IT can still continue to conduct tests and generate measurements, percentages and numbers, not knowing the concerns behind such tests would give no purpose to the data generated by the tests and stakeholders would not be able to effectively interpret the numbers.

Step 3: Goal setting, measurement and metrics

With the right stakeholders and concerns identified, the team can then move on to goal setting. Here, goals can be categorized into technical and business goals however the two are co-dependent. For example, prioritizing information traffic speed falls under a technical goal but may impact business goals, as additional investments in infrastructure are required to achieve desired speeds.

This is why further research as part of goal setting is required to maintain an optimal balance between providing the best user experience and over-investing, and where measurement and metrics comes into play. At this stage, the team identifies acceptable numbers that define an optimal user experience. For example, users will tolerate transactions that take up to four seconds to process and anything beyond five seconds is deemed unacceptable. If test results reveal an average response time of three to five seconds, the goal is deemed achieved.

Testing helps businesses prepare

Having the appropriate tools that provide a thorough 360 degree analysis of web traffic can dramatically improve problem solving speeds and hedge against any negative business impact by identifying bottlenecks, root causes, defects and technical limits. Web load testing prior to new systems upgrades, new marketing campaigns and approaching peak seasons can help companies prepare for any potential backlash as a result of failures caused by sudden traffic overloads.


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