Build resilient systems at scale
28–30 October 2015 • Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Beyond the waterfall - meaningful web performance visualizations

Simon Hearne (NCC Group)
14:40–15:20 Thursday, 29/10/2015
Location: G106/107
Average rating: ****.
(4.36, 28 ratings)
Slides:   1-PDF 

Prerequisite Knowledge

Attendees should have experience of 'classic' web performance visualizations - waterfall charts, connection views, domain breakdowns etc.


With all the different measurements we can take of web performance, the data we can report on becomes huge. Waterfall charts just don’t cut it any more – they are a technical tool to diagnose technical issues. What we need now are business-focused visualizations that quickly represent the impact of performance on user experience.

More and more regularly we are being asked for rapid analysis of key web performance challenges:

  • Where are the third parties coming from?
  • What is the impact of loading web fonts?
  • Are the ads on the page loading after the main content?

How quickly could you answer these business-critical questions? Waterfall charts help, but need technical interpretation.

We have used visualizations for years – waterfall charts, domain breakdowns, filmstrips – but they all require some technical understanding for them to answer these questions.

Mark Zeman’s talk on visualizations at last year’s Velocity showed us that visualizations do not have to be technical to be meaningful. In this talk, Simon will demonstrate the value of exploring new types of visualizations to present a more holistic view of performance that anyone can understand.

Warm up before the talk by running your website through Simon’s request map and webperf heatmap.

Photo of Simon Hearne

Simon Hearne

NCC Group

Simon Hearne is a senior performance consultant at NCC Group, where he splits his time between helping clients improve their web performance and working on exciting new projects. Simon studied artificial intelligence and web science.