Since we did our first deep dive session on healthcare.gov we wondered if anything had changed that now makes it easier for US citizens to shop for new health insurance plans. We know from personal experiences that problems are not yet resolved. The website even went down last week again which probably led to more war rooms that could have been avoided.
What’s the benefit of minification? Let’s take a look at one particular file – jQuery.DataTables.js – with a size of 440kB. Putting it through a public available minifier such as http://jscompress.com reduces the file size to 83kb – that’s a reduction of more than 80%!
Content and 3rd Party Heavy Pages
There seems to be no change in the dependence of 3rd party content and the fact that Healthcare.gov uses multiple real user monitoring solutions. It would be unprofessional to tell the teams to remove some of them because I am sure there is a reason for it. However, consolidation and picking a monitoring solution that covers a larger area would definitely improve performance:
The other interesting fact on the homepage is a rather large background image. It is this “blurry” background image that is 350kB in size. I downloaded it, opened and re-saved without losing any quality with my free Paint.NET program. Now the size is 99kB – that’s a reduction of more than 70%!
Improvements in Server-Side AJAX Calls
An improvement can be seen in the AJAX calls done by the website. In our first analysis we saw requests taking up to 16.8s and requests that were done multiple times. This time we can see that these calls are much faster. Whether this is because they really improved server-side performance or whether there is just lower load on the overall web page caused by many people abandoning the site right now is hard to tell without getting a closer inside look at the server-side performance. From the outside it however seems like this has improved:
Modern Browsers Boost Page Load Time
My recommendation to Heathcare.gov: Get Your Homework Done – Then Mature!
I have to repeat most of my recommendations from my first blog. To sum it up: Get your Homework done by following the WPO Best Practices. This will have a significant positive impact on the end users. After that, think about maturing the approach to application performance management. It seems that many APM vendors are willing to help with blogs like this – but – it is time for healthcare.gov to mature:
- Setup Synthetic SLA Monitoring: Geography has a major impact – so setup your monitors in each state
- Use Real User Monitoring: Get performance data from real users because these are the ones that really matter
- Continuous Deep Dive Sessions: Just as this blog shows it is important to have continuous deep dive sessions to check the progress of changes. Embrace a cultural change across the involved teams.