In digital life, no one likes to wait. Logging in to check your bank account balance, ordering a service, transferring money, completing a purchase, playing digital content… Users want it all done in seconds. And they don’t accept excuses when things don’t work.
This is where load and performance testing becomes crucial in enhancing the quality of digital tools. This testing makes evaluating an application´s performance possible, even when it is used simultaneously by many users or over a long period. It helps ensure that the digital tool is functional, meets the customer’s requirements, is pleasing to the eye, and is accessible. And that it also enables fast interaction.
Don’t go too fast
There are even famous cases where performance was part of the scope of the solution to be implemented. For example, the leading audio streaming platform was designed so the user would only take up to two seconds to listen to what he had chosen from the moment he pressed play. And during the pandemic, we saw how disrupted communication supported the exponential growth in the number of users of video-calling tools. This is an application where performance is critical because its success depends on people being able to talk in real-time without cuts or interruptions.
A study published in Forbes earlier this year found that 47% of users are unwilling to wait more than two seconds for a website to load, and websites that load slowly cost retailers USD 2.6 billion in sales each year. In addition, those who do not find what they are looking for in less than five seconds are willing to keep looking…but somewhere else.
The goal of load and performance testing is to stress the application to ensure its performance remains consistent, regardless of whether the number of users grows exponentially.
From front-end to back-end
At Making Sense, we incorporate two types of tests into our automated quality testing framework.
On the one hand, there are front-end tests that focus on the visible layer of the application: verifying how long it takes for the page to complete an action, to be fully rendered, and to perform transactions.
On the other hand, the backend tests simulate many users logging in repeatedly, performing the same action simultaneously, and loading or requesting large amounts of data while measuring the response times of each microservice and its evolution. It is not uncommon for a test to give excellent results for the first three minutes and then, under the same conditions, to enter a performance degradation curve.
From time zero
Based on the information gathered from the tests, decisions can be made to maintain performance, such as increasing the size of the servers or changing the databases, among others.
Depending on the type of application, it is advisable to incorporate load and performance testing as early as possible. Designing and developing an aesthetically and functionally perfect digital tool is only possible if users drop out because it is slow.
Incorporating these tests into the process of creating a digital tool has numerous benefits for the business: it will be more stable, it will achieve higher levels of adoption, and it will save costs (if load & performance testing is incorporated into the development from the start, subsequent rework, revalidation, etc. will be avoided), It will also preserve the business’s reputation (a critical factor in the success of a digital product). People with a bad application experience are unlikely to use it again. If they do, the second time around, they will be already badly predisposed). But most importantly, performance and load testing will help preserve corporate reputation and user loyalty.