Measuring End User Experience – A Brief Overview

In this article, we take a brief look at measuring the end user experience. When it comes to keeping customer satisfaction rates high it is vital that the right tools for measuring customer experience are adopted. The end user experience is increasingly important as it can directly affect the bottom line of a business. Customer satisfaction is normally linked with system uptime, application response times and application usability.

System uptime is a metric that represents the percentage of time a computer is successfully operational, i.e. It refers to when a system is working, versus downtime, which refers to when a system is not working.

Application response time is the amount of time from the moment a user sends a request until the time that the application indicates that the request has completed.

Application usability refers to the quality of a user’s experience when interacting with applications. It is about the effectiveness, the efficiency, and the overall satisfaction of the user. By getting any of these characteristics wrong could mean your customers go elsewhere.

APM Tools

In production environments, APM (Application Performance Management) tools are used to monitor every aspect of your system from client-side performance to the multi-tiered backend and their relationships and dependencies. It also includes infrastructure monitoring of your hosts, VMs (virtual machines), networks, events, and logs. APM solutions give organisations an accurate view of the customer experience, from the customer’s point of view. APM tools can show you what works and what does not. 

APM tools also monitor how your customer connects and navigates through your application which can give a great insight into the usability of the application. Some insights might be, where they spend the most time? Which routes through the application are the most popular and create the most sales? It monitors how performance differs geographically, what devices and browsers are being used and where the response time is spent the most, for example, if it’s the server response time or the page load times which in turn can help in optimising the application.

Good APM tools have service topology maps giving a graphical view of the services showing the dependencies, throughputs, and response times with the ability to drill down to problem areas for root cause analysis.

Performance Test Tools

In test environments, many performance testing tools can be integrated with APM tools. However, performance test tools don’t capture client-side performance, only the response times from the backend system, therefore other techniques will need to be employed to measure this aspect of the ‘end user’ experience.

One way of achieving this is to run manual tests or automated tests in parallel with the load test and manually measure the end-to-end response times. However, this is not an ideal way of doing this but there are some performance test tools which can integrate with Selenium and other automation test tools which can provide repeatable accurate response times. These user response times can then be graphed against the server response times to show the differences and therefore the document load/page render time can be worked out.

In conclusion, by focusing on high-quality insights, and a core understanding of the application, device, and network performance, your organisation will be able to optimise the end-user experience enabling any issues that arise to be identified and fixed swiftly before any downtime occurs, in turn keeping customers satisfaction high which ultimately affects the bottom line.  

 To see how SQA Consulting may assist your company in performance testing your applications, please contact us.

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