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June 28, 2021

Understanding the Different Browsing Conditions of Users

Empathy for users is a great starting point, but we also need to support that with an understanding of how your users are accessing your website.

For example, what devices and browsers are they using to visit your website? What kind of internet connections are they browsing with?

These differences in browsing conditions can have a bigger impact on performance than you might expect.

This is demonstrated by the results from testing JavaScript processing times for the CNN homepage across different devices from WebPageTest.

The iPhone 8, which is a higher-end device with a better CPU, loaded the CNN homepage in 4 seconds compared to the Moto G4 which loaded in 13 seconds.

However, the results were even more dramatic for the Alcatel 1X which loaded the same page in 36 seconds.

Performance isn’t a ‘one score fits all’ scenario. It can vary drastically depending on each user’s browsing conditions.

The Audience tab in Google Analytics is a great place to start digging around and doing some research into how your users are accessing your website.

For example, you can see the split of the most commonly used devices under Audience > Mobile > Devices.

That’s just one report of many, so take a closer look in your analytics account to get a better understanding of your users and the factors that could be impacting their experience on your website.

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