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Measure Website Performance with User Timings

Posted on 5.08.2012

When it comes to a website’s productivity, every little detail is important. For some time now, Google Analytics has provided its users with Site Speed reports to study their site’s page load times, and now the company has developed User Timings, so users can measure and diagnose page speeds with more refined accuracy.

User Timings will allow Web workers to track and visualize user-defined custom timings about websites, which will show the execution speed or load time of a discrete hit, or even user interaction, depending on what the Google Analytics user decides to track. Included in these metrics are the load speeds of specific images and resources, the response times of select button clicks, AJAX actions timings both before and after onLoad events and more.

Plus, these User Timings are the preferred method for tracking various action timing metrics, as they won’t alter page view counts.

Google Analytics users wanting to collect and take advantage of User Timings data will have to add a JavaScript timing code to the interactions they want to track by using the trackTiming API included in ga.js (version 5.2.6+), which lets site owners track visitor action timings related to events that don’t directly correspond to page views. To enhance organization, these can be defined using categories, variables and optional labels.

User Timings reports can be accessed by going to the Content tab of a Google Analytics dashboard and clicking on the “User Timings” section, where there are three tabs to review. Explorer, Performance and Map Overlay each provide different views of user timings.

Explorer shows information about average user timing and user timing sample by Timing Category, Timing Variable or Timing Label. The Performance tab tells site owners which timings are the most common for user timings. And Map Overlay gives owners a view of how users in different geographical regions experience site speed.

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