Build.com needed a tool to give various teams with multiple performance objectives visibility into page performance for both mobile and desktop experiences.
With Splunk Synthetic Monitoring, Build.com engineering and marketing teams have gained better visibility into how new code and features impact end-user experience.
A Culture of Performance
Build.com, Inc. is an online home improvement retailer that specializes in plumbing, lighting, door hardware and furniture, as well as heating, ventilation, air conditioning and cooling equipment. Scott Jungling, Build.com’s frontend engineering manager, is on a mission to make the web a more enjoyable experience with simple and effective web applications.
According to Jungling, “As an e-commerce company, there is a huge incentive for having a performant website since page speed correlates with conversions.”
While there is a company-wide focus on performance at Build.com, each department has slightly different motivations. The marketing department’s performance goals revolve around the fact that the faster a site is, the more favorable search engines will rank it. “So for marketing, performance is more about increasing organic traffic and competing with sites like Amazon,” says Jungling.
For the Build.com engineering team, performance is essential. “We are continuously talking about and prioritizing projects around performance. Splunk’s Synthetic Monitoring Performance KPIs are particularly useful in creating a culture of performance because they provide insight into incremental changes,” says Jungling. The engineering team frequently rolls out small-scope performance improvements. With Splunk’s Synthetic Monitoring Performance KPIs, they are able to take that graph and send it to engineers after performance changes are implemented to see what results these changes have caused. “This is great both for the morale of our team as well as the end user’s experience of our site,” says Jungling.
Creating a Visual Record of Performance With Filmstrips
According to Jungling, “Splunk’s Filmstrips help our business and marketing users understand exactly how new features or content impacts performance. Teams see exactly how the page loads both before and after adding a new design feature to the site, which creates accountability with marketing and our third-party vendors.”
In one instance, the team noticed a large increase in load time to one of the pages after marketing had added a new module prompting visitors to sign up for their newsletter. The module caused load time to balloon. “We were able to easily pinpoint this with Filmstrips and then work with our marketing team to find a smarter way to drive people to sign up for our mailing list,” says Jungling.
Since Filmstrips allow the team to see how pages load on both desktop and mobile, this feature has increased visibility into the mobile experience overall. Improving mobile web performance has been a huge priority for Build.com. “By seeing when we actually start rendering the page, we can measure our progress and confirm what aspects of the load might be pushing out the more traditional metrics,” says Jungling.