Perceived Speed Performace

June 16, 2010 | Tags: , , , ,

Firefox is fast, no doubt about it. But for many people it feels pretty slow when starting up. Chrome, while only marginally faster than Firefox at starting, feels much faster. By analyzing videos of these start-up processes we can start to understand what makes Firefox feel slow.

First, last start with some definitions of browser start-up events.

  • Before Spinner: the time from when the user clicks the application icon to when the spinner starts running.
  • Spinner Running: the time while the spinner is actually running (may appear and disappear).
  • Before Window Draw: the time from when the spinner stops running until the window begins drawing.
  • Window Drawing: the time from when the window starts drawing until the title bar comes into view.
  • Drawing Title Bar: the time it takes the title bar to come into view.
  • Window Done Drawing: the time it takes for the window to draw after the title bar is seen.
  • Drawing Chrome: the time it takes for the browser chrome to be drawn.
  • Website Drawn: the time it takes for the entire website to be drawn (different websites used).
  • Close Window: the time it takes from when a users presses the close button on the browser until when the browser is no longer shown.
  • Active Icon Disappears: the time it takes from when the browser is no longer shown until the application is no longer running.
  • “Fresh”: brand new profile; standard set of plugins enabled: Acrobat, Google Update, Java Deployment Toolkit, Java(TM) platofmr SE 6 U20, Microsoft Office 2010, Shockwave Flash, Silverlight, WPI Detector 1.1
  • “Full”: fresh profile (only the history data used to create the 50 bookmarks below); standard set of plugins; 50 bookmarks (the 50 top alexa global sites); 5 tabs in the session (google, facebook, youtube, wikipedia, live.com); 2 common add-ons installed (ietab and adblock plus)

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