The Network Performance Take on Digital Experience Monitoring
Digital experience monitoring (DEM) is software dedicated to monitoring end-user experience. To do this, DEM software tracks user data, resources, and applications to highlight areas of performance for improvement; from site navigation to product usability.
Though there are specific solutions dedicated to digital experience, there are benefits to supplementing DEM application solutions with reliable performance monitoring that provides advanced alerting and additional monitoring for overall domain health.
The End-User Experience
User experience is the main ingredient in DEM and there are two parts; real user monitoring (RUM), and synthetic monitoring. In terms of real user data, monitoring means keeping an eye on key metrics like:
- Page load speeds
- First render times
- User traffic
- Browser type
Uptime.com RUM generates reporting and data to provide analytics for optimizing performance, largely for load and render times, but also to target inefficiencies based on users’ server locations, browser types, and devices.
You can compare, for instance, time to load for assets vs server response. You can measure the time it takes for a user to see something, or look at performance broken down by specific URLs or patterns.
Where RUM provides actual analytics, synthetic monitoring simulates user actions by replicating transactions; from shopping cart purchases, to logins, to the click actions that prompt site navigation. We offer synthetic monitoring via our Transaction Checks and Chrome-based Transaction Recorder. Checks are configured by building steps from lists of commands and validations to mimic user movement on your site, and we provide some nifty data should any step of your check fail.
Failed checks identify the step that triggered the alert, as well as provide screenshots so you can better understand why the step failed, (perhaps an element failed to load or a field processed incorrect data), as well as link to browser console data.
Sometimes things break. Being able to successfully monitor a user’s digital experience means being able to diagnose and fix them more quickly.
It was a dark and stormy night. A tall man and a small man stood out in the storm. The small man said to the tall man, “It was a dark and stormy night. A tall man and a small man stood out in the storm…”
Consistency is key. Trite, but true. Monitoring goals should be two-fold:
- Ensure fast incident response times
- Collect data to improve performance
The best way to accomplish both is to create checks that continuously run on predictable intervals — while also providing enough insight to pinpoint poor-performing elements to get back online quickly. You want to create a reliable monitoring loop without getting stuck in it.
Monitoring for Vulnerabilities
We’ve discussed being able to easily identify specific elements that are inhibiting performance, but what
monitoring for other vulnerabilities? Let’s bring it back around to page speed. In the internet landscape speed = revenue and everything from delayed load times to full-on outages are guaranteed to impact your wallet and traffic.
Think of it like air leaking out of a tire. Even a pinprick can hiss out dollars and cents, but it’s better to be able to patch it quickly than blow out on the highway.
Data from our Transaction Check is useful for reviewing response time for different elements and specific steps and you don’t need the check to fail to gain these insights, simply use our Run Test button in the edit check window.
This data gives you a docket of response times that you can use to optimize page elements – even if they aren’t failing (or before they do fail).
Once you’ve gleaned data from Transaction steps, drill deeper with tools like Real time Analysis, a huge asset in the event of a check failure. Get server-specific information, alert details, and generate real time check status to view current data on the failing step(s).
Fragmented User Experience
Next to poor page speed, fragmentation is the most significant inhibitor to the digital experience. Fragmentation is a potential side effect of the omnichannel approach to websites that we have all embraced. Third-party integrations, payment providers, CRMs, and other application vendors combine to create complex infrastructures with a lot of moving parts that can derail performance if they aren’t expertly managed.
An efficient way to keep a handle on this is by monitoring endpoints, making something like the Uptime.com REST API a tidy solution for keeping an eye on multiple endpoints as well as check endpoints through simple scripts.
A common use case: Retrieving data on all checks that are currently down.
- Query the /checks/ endpoint for all checks in 15-minute intervals.
This creates a fresh checks list which includes check status (UP/DOWN) and response time data.
- Query the /outages/ endpoint once per minute to generate a list of the latest outages regardless of alert status.
- Query the /alerts/ endpoint once per minute to get any new UP/DOWN alerts.
The results from this endpoint can be used to update the checks listing in memory with any new UP/DOWN changes and eliminate the need to read all the checks again.
Pro Tip: Through the REST API your team can access all of the functional aspects of Uptime.com’s UI while triggering automated reports.
Tools like this allow for multi-channel investigation to combat the intricacies of omnichannel infrastructures.
No matter how you configure your monitoring, the key is to be able to monitor, evaluate, and optimize without interrupting the end-user experience. DEM requires broad coverage of all your performance assets but also the path to enhance performance based on data.
Need help configuring your monitoring to optimize your performance and track your digital experience? We can help!
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