May 11, 2011, 3:19 PM

Removing a problematic image boosts drugstore.com’s mobile performance

A single faulty image can drag down performance significantly, Keynote Systems says.

Lead Photo

The merchant moved up six spots to No. 22 on this week's Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index.

It’s an old story: One troublemaker can ruin it for everybody. Such was the case last week with drugstore.com Inc., where a 254-kilobyte promotional image on its mobile commerce site home page that took 6.64 seconds to download was hurting overall site performance, mobile and web performance management firm Keynote Systems Inc. reports after diving into drugstore.com performance data for the weekly Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index.

“The download also timed out intermittently when the image was requested by mobile browsers and therefore the image was a significant drag on the page’s download success rate,” says Herman Ng, mobile performance evangelist at Keynote Systems. “Once the image was removed from the page, drugstore.com’s page load time and success rate immediately improved. This is a good example that no detail is too small. By examining page construction closely and adjusting and removing problematic page content, mobile site operators can boost overall user experience dramatically.”

The tweak helped the retailermove up six spots this week to No. 22 on the 30-merchant index. On average it took 11.54 seconds to download the mobile home page, which downloaded successfully 97.83% of the time, earning a score of 578 out of 1,000. Drugstore.com did not respond to a request for comment.

Walgreen Co. again took the top spot. Walgreens’ m-commerce site home page downloaded on average in 5.70 seconds and did so successfully 99.76% of the time for a perfect score of 1,000. Walgreens was followed by Brookstone Inc., which had a load time of 6.25 seconds and a success rate of 99.63%, earning a score of 965. CVS Caremark Corp. also had a score of 965, with a load time of 6.44 seconds and a success rate of 99.71%.

The index average score was 738. The average load time was 9.16 seconds and the success rate was 98.49 seconds.

Click here and then click on Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index Part 1 and Part 2 to see this week’s complete results for all 30 retailers on the index.

Keynote Systems measures 30 representative m-commerce sites exclusively for Internet Retailer. The sites include merchants in various categories and channels, and of various sizes, ranging from such giants as Amazon.com Inc., Sears Holdings Corp. and 1-800-Flowers.com Inc., to midsized retailers like Sunglass Hut, Toolfetch.com LLC and Your Electronic Warehouse. Keynote tests the sites in the index every hour Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. through midnight Eastern time, emulating four different smartphones on four different wireless networks: Apple Inc.’s iPhone 4 on AT&T, the HTC Evo on Sprint, the BlackBerry Curve on T-Mobile and the Droid X on Verizon. The HTC Evo and the Droid X run Google Inc.’s Android operating system.

Keynote combines a site’s load time and success rate, equally weighted, into a single score. Given both performance and availability are important, the score reflects the overall quality of the home page; a higher score indicates better performance. Scores also reflect how close sites are to each other in overall quality. The index average score is the midpoint among all the sites’ scores.

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