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How can I measure page load times with Selenium?

How you can measure page load time with Selenium for automated testing?

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Posted 5 months ago


How To Measure Page Load Times With Selenium?

There are a number of metrics that are considered during the development & release of any software product. One such metric is the ‘user-experience’ which is centred on the ease with which your customers can use your product. You may have developed a product that solves a problem at scale, but if your customers experience difficulties in using it, they may start looking out for other options. Website or web application’s which offers better web design, page load speed, usability (ease of use), memory requirements, and more. Today, I will show you how you can measure page load time with Selenium for automated cross browser testing. Before doing that, we ought to understand the relevance of page load time for a website or a web app.

Why Focus On Measuring Page Load Time? More than 40 percent of the website visitors may leave if the loading time is more than 3 seconds. This is why your software development, design, and product development team should focus on improving the performance of your web product. Don’t believe me? Below, is an image from a study conducted by Google related to page load speed with respect to bounce rate.

Popular search engines measure the time it takes for the receipt of the first byte in order to determine the site speed/page speed. Hence, slow rendering pages can have a huge hit on the search engine rankings. Slow page speed also means that the search engine crawler can crawl less number of pages within the allocated crawl budget, which would eventually show up in the rankings.

A fact known to most of us is that if a website offers a more mobile-friendly user experience with faster page load time on mobile, Google would value those websites more and rank them on top in mobile search results. For this purpose, Google came up with a new mobile-friendly algorithm on April 21, 2015. Therefore, it is important to test a mobile website for user-friendliness.

It is not just Google but your customers would also won’t prefer your website or web app if the pages on the website don’t load with the lightning fast pace. Even one-second delay in the page load time can result in higher bounce rates and reduced number of page-views. It also has a negative impact on Click Through Rates (CTR) and conversions. In simple terms, measuring page-load time (also referred to as Page Speed) is the amount of time it takes for the content/page to appear on the screen. Lower the page-load time, better is the usability factor of the product, better is your conversion rate.

Metrics To Consider For Measuring Page Load Time Different pages on the same website/web-app can have different load times, depending on the design being used for the development of the pages. Developers might have used either of the techniques to reduce the page load time.

a. File compression techniques for image optimization. b. Browser caching. c. Reduced number of redirects. d. Reduced usage of non-blocking JavaScript. e. Images of variable sizes depending on the device being used by the customer

That is from the developers’ end, but how would you go about testing the website by measuring the page load time of every page?

There could be hundreds of webpages on your website. Not to forget, you would have to perform browser compatibility testing to realize the page load time of every page on your website across hundreds of browsers and browser versions.

There is a possibility that your web page load time will differ if accessed from different browsers (including browser versions). It would also depend on the platform (desktop, tablet, mobile, etc.) and the geographical location from where your website/web-app is being accessed. You can’t go about testing every combination(web page + browser + browser version + operating system) manually. This is where Selenium grid comes to the rescue by empowering you to perform automated cross browser testing of your web pages. You can perform automation testing for measuring page load time with Selenium. Before we do that, it is important to have a look at the Navigation Timing.

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Posted 5 months ago