Anti-Bonk Performance Testing for Tour de France Sponsors

iLAB was honored to partner with our friends at Dimension Data to perform testing on their website prior to the start of the 2017 Tour de France, where this was the third year that Dimension Data sponsored Team Africa at La Grande Boucle. They wanted to make sure their website could handle the additional traffic drawn in by the event for weeks on end. We were only too happy to help them with that goal through rigorous performance testing. Since iLAB was lucky to be engaged to help them with the same mission last year, we had some data and experience to fall back on.

Anticipating Peak Usage

Dimension Data’s website is always media-rich, but around the Tour de France it becomes even more so as they share all types of content to get fans excited about the race and engaged with Team Africa. iLAB’s performance testing strategy was developed with a deep understanding of exactly what influences a user’s perception of a website’s performance. If a web page takes longer than three seconds to load, humans begin to get frustrated. iLAB needed to help ensure that all the relevant pages on the site would load in a timely fashion and function well, even with lots of traffic. We knew that the peak load from 2016 was around 2,500 visitors to the site at once. In 2017, we wanted to make sure the site could handle that and more, so rounded it up to 3,000 and set our experts to work.

Why Performance Testing?

Think about it—none of the world-class cyclists that made up Team Africa in the 2017 Tour de France just showed up without being confident they could finish the race. Anyone could put on a cycling jersey and a helmet and look like they belong, but the proof is in the running of the race. In much the same way, you can develop the best-looking website on the internet, but if you don’t test its performance and make sure it’s functional even under heavy usage, you really don’t have a website at all.

Imagine if an amateur did make their way into the Tour de France—they’d make headlines, to be sure, but for all the wrong reasons. When an app or website crashes under heavy traffic, the developer or company who launched it is faced with the same situation. At the moment that application was under the most pressure, it cracked (maybe despite guaranteeing it wouldn’t), and people aren’t going to forget it anytime soon. Some companies never recover from this hit to their bottom line, especially if a whole new development cycle becomes necessary to fix whatever issues caused the crash. Even if not, the consumer perception of the brand has been damaged.

If you told the riders in the Tour de France they could prevent or anticipate crashes and accidents simply by running some tests, they’d be all too eager to do so. Wise companies like Dimension Data see that this amazing guarantee is just as valuable when applied to a website. When a large company with a lot at stake chooses to bring their website into the public eye without conducting performance testing first, they have no way of knowing what will happen if thousands of people try to log on at once. In that situation, a crash is often inevitable. If you’re looking for a way to protect against this or other performance risks in your website, app, or software, contact iLAB today to start the journey to quality.