In a typical use case, a web site might want to test on its home page user responses to different discounts, Director of Product Jon Noronha told me.
With the previous Optimizely platform, he said, all the assets of all the test variations – images, text, video if needed – and the testing logic would be sent to the nearest server on the global Content Delivery Network (CDN) used by Optimizely, which is Cloudflare.
A site, for instance, might offer three discounts – 10%, 20% and 30% — randomly among all visitors, and each offer might have its own set of graphics or other assets.
Before Performance Edge, the assets and logic for all the possibilities would then be sent from the CDN to the browser, and the decision on which assets to use when would be made locally by the browser. The CDN server wasn’t actually doing any decision making.
Now, under Performance Edge, all the assets and logic are still loaded into the nearest CDN server. But now the server is empowered to make the decision about which discount to show when, and then it sends to the browser only the assets and any needed local logic for that one option, such as just for the 20% discount. The CDN becomes what Optimizely calls an Experiment Delivery Network.
Here’s Optimizely’s diagram comparing the traditional test delivery to the new Performance Edge:
The result, Noronha said, is a faster load and execution time, on average going from about 500 milliseconds to about 50 milliseconds or less, because fewer assets are moved to the browser and because the CDN servers can make decisions faster than browsers.
He added that Optimizely’s main competitors – Adobe Target, Google Optimize and Oracle Maximize – still push all assets and logic down to the browser from their servers. Optimizely is now faster than its competitors, he said, although he noted that a formal benchmark has not yet been conducted.
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