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Monitoring the user experience with web page performance

As a service owner responsible for your company's online storefront, you need to identify and respond to service degradations that adversely affect the your customer's digital experience. You want to identify performance issues before end users (customers) are impacted. You also want to drive operational optimization and excellence within your organization to improve mean-time-to-detect (MTTD) and mean-time-to-respond (MTTR).

This article is part of the Splunk Use Case Explorer for Observability, which is designed to help you identify and implement prescriptive use cases that drive incremental business value. It explains the solution using a fictitious example company, called CSCorp, that hosts a cloud native application called Online Boutique. In the AIOps lifecycle described in the Use Case Explorer, this article is part of Digital experience monitoring.

Scenario

Competing and maintaining a competitive edge requires frequent code updates to the Online Boutique application’s underlying microservices. Service degradation from new releases could cause customers to become frustrated, leading them to explore competitors' web sites for a better experience leading to a loss of CSCorp revenue.

In the long term, the team needs solutions to the following questions:

  • How do we ensure service degradation issues introduced from code changes are discovered before it affects our customers?
  • How do we emulate what a customer experiences while going through the end-to-end process of selecting and ordering one of our products? 

More immediately, a new release to the Payment Service (‘paymentservice’) microservice will be deployed. The team knows that the ‘paymentservice’ code release will cause application degradation when the customer attempts to buy goods available on the Online Boutique. 

How to use Splunk software for this use case

A Real Browser Check allows you to monitor the user experience around performance for a single page or a multi-step user flow. For each page checked in a Real Browser check, Splunk Synthetic Monitoring captures a HAR file, or waterfall chart, that helps you see the performance of specific resources within the page. You can use this type of check to monitor conversion paths or any path that requires multiple steps and must execute JavaScript.

Here are common ways to create Real Browser Checks in Splunk Synthetic Monitoring:

The CSCorp team decided to record and test a Real Browser Check at scheduled intervals from strategic locations to identify (MTTD) and resolve (MTTR) potential issues before customers are impacted. 

The following statements are true of CSCorp: 

  • ‘paymentservice’ microservice is used by many applications at CSCorp
  • ‘App_name’ tag is standard at CSCorp. This is instrumented at all front end services for each application 
  • ‘Frontend’ service is the main entrypoint gateway for OnlineBoutique app

Now, look at how CSCorp created and tested a multi-step Real Browser Check from Selenium IDE source code for the Online Boutique ordering process.

Next steps

Still having trouble? Splunk has many resources available to help get you back on track.