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What does The Simpsons have to do with web performance?

Stay with us – it’s not that much of a stretch.

When you’re looking to build a culture of performance, you often need to find a common language so you can talk to the business teams about what matters most to them. You’ll typically want to find a way to make a connection between a performance metric (such as First Meaningful Paint) and a business metric (Conversion Rate).

But sometimes you want to think a little outside the box.

Making a pop culture connection is a fun way to explain a technical concept. Why The Simpsons?

There are so many characters who live in the fictional city of Springfield, (state unknown), that you can always find one who shares a persona with a web performance metric or concept. We’ve made your life easier by starting the comparison for you.

There are so many characters living in the fictional city of Springfield that you can always find one who shares a persona with a web performance metric. #webperf #perfmatters Click To Tweet

And then?

You can use this delightful analogy to start a conversation – whether it’s around a water cooler with your performance expert pals or with someone from the business side who might not know much about Time to First Byte but who definitely knows a Ned Flanders from a Sideshow Mel.

The Simpsons Family = Web Performance Metrics

Maggie Simpson

Time to First Byte (TTFB)

The youngest member of the Simpsons family is also one of the smartest.

She doesn’t speak (most of the time), but she communicates everything you need to know with her eyes – and her pacifier.

She needs complex – yet early – information that’s related to your back end (no diaper jokes, please).

How’s your server responding? Do you need a CDN? Is your CDN performing properly? Maggie knows.

Lisa Simpson

First Meaningful Paint (FMP)

The musician, artist, and sensitive soul of the Simpsons family, Lisa is always learning about the world around her and expressing herself accordingly.

She doesn’t want to wait around staring at a blank screen or some meaningless pixels – she needs to know that the information is loading, things are happening, and everything’s MOVING.

If the First Meaningful Paint time is too long, she’s going to tell you to speed it up.

A site should start showing Lisa what she needs when she needs it, and not a Milhouse – sorry, we mean millisecond – later.

Marge Simpson

Visually Complete (VC)

The matriarch of the Simpsons, Marge has to be able to get EVERYTHING at once.

She’s a busy mom with three kids to watch and all the household chores to manage. While she’s willing to wait a breath or two, if the site doesn’t reach Visually Complete in what she feels is a reasonable amount of time, and if anything is missing when it claims it’s ready, it’s not worth it to her.

She’s not looking for anything fancy or complicated, but a webpage should be ready for her within seconds.

(At the very least, she should be able to access everything above the fold without much of a wait.)

If Lisa Simpson is First Meaningful Paint and Marge Simpson is Visually Complete, then Bart Simpson is ... #webperf #perfmatters Click To Tweet

Homer Simpson

Percent Availability

Homer.

We all know Homer. He’s … Homer.

His needs are simple. Beer, donuts, his family. And he just wants to know if a site is working.

He doesn’t need to know WHY the nuclear plant is down; he needs to know that it is down and to find out whether he has to leave his couch to go “fix” it.

He’ll check to see the percentage of time the site is up, he’ll set alerts to wake him up if the site fails for more than, say, 2 hours, and he won’t do much else.

Bart Simpson

Time to Interactive (TTI)

Finally, we come to Bart, the troublemaker of the family.

He’s easily distracted. He moves and grooves, rides his skateboard, doesn’t stop, can’t stop, won’t stop. AND HE CANNOT WAIT.

Rage clicks? Bart’s doing them.

He wants to be able to click or tap IMMEDIATELY, and he’s watching your Time to Interactive like a hawk.

Is it ready? Is it ready NOW? IS IT READY NOW!?


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Springfield Citizens = Performance Concepts & Other Metrics

Ned Flanders

Image Size

Hi-diddly-ho neighborinos!

It’s your favorite busybody of the Simpsonsverse, Ned Flanders.

He needs everything to be diddly-daddly-perfectorino. And so he aligns most closely with optimized images.

It’s not a metric, per se, but if your site’s images are too large (particularly when they don’t need to be), they can slow down everything.

And it’s hi-dilly-o easy-rino easy to jump right in and fix those sainted images to optimize your site!

Professor Frink vs. Mayor Quimby

The Struggle to Explain Performance

The poor Professor. He’s smart, he has facts, and he has numbers (mm-hey). He wants to tell you all the technical info – the nitty-gritty, the details.

He wants to explain performance metrics to you for hours so you KNOW and UNDERSTAND it.

The trouble is, one can be technically right, but if nobody will listen, it doesn’t matter.

On the other side, you have the hapless Mayor Quimby.

He’d vote for you if you ran for mayor, as the saying goes. And really, he only cares about what is in it for HIM.

Springfield is on fire? Ho hum. The fire is inching its way to the Mayoral Mansion?

GET EVERYONE TO STOP THIS INSTANTLY.

Frink needs to find a way to make the facts and figures MATTER to the Mayor.

Do that and the Mayor will add performance to his next state of the city address.

Promise. Pinky promise.

Superintendent Chalmers

Google Lighthouse Score

When Chalmers isn’t yelling “SKINNER!” he’s walking the schools with his checklist in hand.

A good superintendent is always paying attention to how he’s doing – and how other schools around him are doing.

So you can trust that Chalmers LOVES the Lighthouse Score. Why? Because it gives a neat, tidy way to assess a site’s performance and then compare it to other sites. One number, all the answers.

No fuss, no muss. Just like Chalmers himself.

Did we get it right? What do you think? Do you want to see part two? (Patty? Selma? Carl? Ralph?)

Let us know in the comments or tweet to us @TeamRigor!

Hey @TeamRigor, I think that ____ from The Simpsons aligns with _____ performance metric! #webperf #perfmatters Click To Tweet

While we can’t help you determine which Simpsons character you are, we can offer you a free report on how your websites perform with the metrics discussed in this article. Check out the Rigor Web Performance Report for a sneak peek today.

NOTE: This blog post is not endorsed by anyone related to The Simpsons. It represents the views of the Rigor team and nobody else.

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