From Slow To Fast: Improving Performance On Intuit Web Sites By Up To 5x

Web Performance, Grand Ballroom West
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Convincing an organization that performance matters and is worth investing in is often a tough thing to sell. This was no different at Intuit, who operated many sites built in the pre “web standards” era. Then, one day, one test changed everything – an A/B comparison successfully demonstrated that faster page loads increased conversion and SEO. And the conversation quickly changed from “Not interested” to “How quickly can you make the rest of our pages faster?”

A performance team was formed, and optimization began across multiple properties in a phased approach with each release delivering incremental performance gains. As we iterated through the core performance principles, the team introduced additional techniques that led us to exceed our original performance goals. Techniques such as lazyloading, prefetching, smarter image optimization/spriting, and module rewrites enabled us to successfully shave off additional time.

This session will cover the steps that we took, lessons learned including what worked well or didn’t work well, as well as the performance improvements that were realized, and their impact on business metrics. Some of the topics include:

  • How we went from 15s web pages to 2s web pages
  • How combining CSS/JS files and image sprites had both positive as well as negative impact
  • How lazy loading of resources and JavaScript rewrites improved our page render times (including our experiments with Control.js)
  • How we addressed blocking as well as high-latency third-party components
  • How we solved for issues/constraints arising from shared code across multiple sites
  • How we optimized for user flows spanning multiple pages with positive results
  • How automated benchmarking enabled us to continuously monitor our performance health
  • How we succeeded in making “performance” a common theme among developers, marketers, and stakeholders
Photo of Jay Hung

Jay Hung

WebMocha

Jay Hung first learned about FEO (front-end optimization) in 2006 as an engineer at Yahoo!. His team was among the first to implement Steve Souders’ principles and techniques in Yahoo! products, and Jay cites Steve’s “14 rules for faster-loading web sites” as among his most valuable takeaways. Since then, Jay has gone on to optimize numerous web properties from startups to top Alexa sites, and remains hugely passionate about frontend performance.

Norberth Danson

Intuit

Norberth is a full-stack, senior software engineer with a passion for technologies that make a developer’s life easier. An integral part of the performance team at Intuit, Norberth focuses primarily on frontend performance, architecture and application logic. As a huge fan of client side MVC frameworks, he uses and abuses Backbone.js and Ember.js. Norberth first gained credibility and notoriety when he created a Facebook clone as a sole developer, which evolved into a company building social widgets for the web. Hailing from Romania, Norberth believes in lifelong learning, and lives in Silicon Valley with his wife and two kids.

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