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    APDEX

    Apdex Is Not Just For Application Performance


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    Apdex is a way to study measurements of any experience that can be interpreted on a scale ranging from excellent to unacceptable. It can be used to rate everything from application response time, to food quality, surgical outcomes, time to repair, bandwidth delivered by an ISP, and time to pour a beer. The sky is the limit. Armed with measurements of many “events,” it is a way to summarize outcomes with a simple, easy-to-understand score.

    Many statistical data analysis methods are based on a normal distribution of values (the familiar bell curve). There are three problems with this common approach. First, it assumes that the dominant values are most important (mean or median). Second, it assumes that values further from the mean or median are less important (deviations from the norm). Finally—and most importantly—it assumes that values on either side of the dominant value have an equal impact (e.g., it assumes that 10% too high is just as bad as 10% too low, which often is not true).

    Apdex enables you to present a set of measurements so that a few, significant results receive more weight in the outcome. It also gives a voice to the group of experiences that typical statistical approaches dismiss as outliers.

    Furthermore, the three “buckets” in the equation need not be centered on the mean. For example, let’s assume that the objective is to study the accuracy of blood pressure tests performed at a number of health clinics. The hypothetical question is—how often does a clinic make a misdiagnosis that leads to unnecessary and potentially costly treatment?

    In our sample study, we send 100 certified healthy individuals into each clinic for a blood pressure test. All of the subjects have normal blood pressure. Some clinics note, incorrectly, that a patient’s blood pressure is too high or too low. In this situation, standard deviation is unhelpful. If a blood pressure result is too high, the clinic will likely prescribe treatment, and if it is too low, the clinic will likely tell the patient to return later.

    The point is, there is a material difference between blood pressure results that are out of the normal range depending on whether they are high or low. Most statistical methods would treat a positive or negative deviation from normal equally. Apdex lets the analyst assign the low blood pressure patients to the “tolerating” group and the high blood pressure results to the “frustrated” group. The Apdex scores for each clinic in this experiment will identify the clinics that are inappropriately adding to the cost of patient care.

    Traditional use of the Apdex formula when applied to application response times as seen by the user:
    Apdex = (Satisfactory samples + 0.5xTolerating samples + 0xFrustrated samples)/Total samples

    New use of the Apdex formula when applied to blood pressure accuracy influence on health care cost:
    Apdex = (Normal samples + 0.5xLow samples + 0xHigh samples)/Total samples

    Note: This post is not intended to provide health advice. See a healthcare professional regarding blood pressure.

    Apdex Is Alive!


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    Dear followers,

    We have been silent on this website for some time. I apologize for the long lull.

    Chris Loosley, an ardent voice of Apdex was silenced by his passing in May 2012. His enthusiastic energy and wit are missed.

    Apdex lives on. It is a simple formula, like the area of a circle equals Pi times the radius squared. Granted, the Apdex equation is not as history changing, but the similarity is its useful simplicity. Simple ideas need no sponsors. People use them freely and apply them where they will. They are tools for invention and creativity. So it has been with the simple Apdex formula.

    Adoption has been growing. For example there are now more than 175 members of the Apdex LinkedIn Group.

    We are opening the Apdex Alliance to anyone interested in learning or who wishes to share their experiences. If you have used Apdex in an innovative way, please submit your story to this website. If you have implemented Apdex in a product, please submit the description (along with a link to your company’s Apdex material) to this website.

    This website will no longer list companies as official sponsors. Companies with Apdex products can be associated with Apdex by their posts as described above. We are adopting the LinkedIn Apdex group as the place for individuals to associate as Apdex members.

    But continue to tune into this website! News and information are coming.

    Apdex Alliance Welcomes WatchMouse


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    Today, the Apdex Alliance welcomes its latest sponsor. WatchMouse tests websites, services and applications utilizing an infrastructure that includes over 58 worldwide remote monitoring stations and a global network of checkpoints in 26 countries. The worldwide coverage is impressive as shown in the map below.

    WatchMouse has implemented Apdex reporting in its tools. You can easily add Apdex reports to the many monitoring systems that WatchMouse supplies. But this is just one from a wide range of reporting tools available. They support many user platforms along with detailed test settings. I have been using the tool for a while and will be writing about how to use Apdex with WatchMouse in the future.

    WatchMouse has also implemented a great Live Apdex Report widget that is running on the left of this website. We have been working with WatchMouse to make is simple and informative. I hope you agree. You can add the Apdex widget to track any service and make it part of your website (public or private). I am still experimenting with the widget. At the moment it is reporting on my two favorite websites (this one and NetForecast). But I think we should widen the scope of sites to track. Got any suggestions?

    I recommend you try out their service which is available with a free 30-day trail.

    Gomez Launches Apdex-Based “User Experience Index”


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    It’s the busiest online shopping week of the year, and to mark it Gomez has launched a novel way to show how well retail websites are performing from a user’s viewpoint. This is a noteworthy first. Called the Compuware Gomez Retail User Experience Index (UX Index for short), this new report is much easier to interpret than traditional reports that simply rank websites by response time or other raw metrics.

    Rather than report raw numbers for response time, availability and consistency, the UX Index uses Apdex scoring methodology to give websites one user experience-based score, which Gomez rolls up into a macro view of how well websites are performing for the top 500 online retailers, the top 15 retailer websites, and the top 15 mobile retailer websites. They also show how well the sites are performing relative to a baseline. Because Apdex factors in response time, consistency as well as availability, it enables Gomez to assign a single score to a measurement sample. This aspect of Apdex also makes it easy to aggregate the results of many websites into a single group score–allowing Gomez to compare multiple benchmarks over time.

    Gomez assigns every unique test an outcome of Satisfied, Tolerating or Frustrated. These categories are defined as:

    • Satisfied: Page response time of 2 seconds or less;
    • Tolerating: Page response time of between 2 and 8 seconds;
    • Frustrated: Page response time of greater than 8 seconds or the test failed.

    An Apdex score is determined by comparing the ratio of all Satisfied tests and half the Tolerating tests to the total of all tests. A score of 100 means that all tests (or users) in the sample fell into the Satisfied bucket. A score of zero indicates that all tests (or users) fell into the Frustrated bucket. Generally, a score of lower than 70 is considered poor, and 70 or greater is considered fair. A score between 85 and above 94 is considered good. A score above 94 is considered excellent.

    If there is one day of the year when retail websites are stressed to the maximum, Cyber Monday is it, so check out the UX Index here and see how things look. Later this week we plan to analyze how well the websites tested fared on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

    Apdex-G and Apdex-R Composite Sections 1-5


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    I’m writing a series of posts about Generalizing Apdex. This is #25. To minimize confusion, section numbers in the current spec are accompanied by the section symbol, like this: §1. The corresponding section numbers in the generalized spec documents, Apdex-G and Apdex-R, are enclosed in square brackets and prefixed by the document type, like this: [G 1] and [R 1].

    Drafts of the Apdex-G spec were posted as Section [1] Introduction, Section [2] Index Overview, Section [3] Calculation Inputs, Section [4] Calculating the Index, Section [5] Reporting, and Section [6] References.

    Drafts of the Apdex-R spec were posted as Section [1] Introduction and [2] Overview, Section [3] Calculation Inputs, Section [4] Calculating the Index, and Section [5] Reporting. Those posts show how the proposed Apdex-R spec is derived from the present Apdex spec.

    This post consolidates the Apdex-G and Apdex-R proposals side-by-side, without annotations, allowing sections 1-5 of both documents to be viewed together.

    Continue reading Apdex-G and Apdex-R Composite Sections 1-5

    Apdex-R Section [5] Reporting


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    I’m writing a series of posts about Generalizing Apdex. This is #24. To minimize confusion, section numbers in the current spec are accompanied by the section symbol, like this: §1. The corresponding section numbers in the generalized spec documents, Apdex-G and Apdex-R, are enclosed in square brackets and prefixed by the document type, like this: [G 1] and [R 1].

    Drafts of the Apdex-G spec were posted as Section [1] Introduction, Section [2] Index Overview, Section [3] Calculation Inputs, Section [4] Calculating the Index, Section [5] Reporting, and Section [6] References.

    The first draft of Apdex-R began with Sections 1 and 2, Section 3, and Section 4. This post covers Section 5.

    Continue reading Apdex-R Section [5] Reporting

    Apdex-R Section [4] Calculating the Index


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    I’m writing a series of posts about Generalizing Apdex. This is #23. To minimize confusion, section numbers in the current spec are accompanied by the section symbol, like this: §1. The corresponding section numbers in the generalized spec documents, Apdex-G and Apdex-R, are enclosed in square brackets and prefixed by the document type, like this: [G 1] and [R 1].

    Drafts of the Apdex-G spec were posted as Section [1] Introduction, Section [2] Index Overview, Section [3] Calculation Inputs, Section [4] Calculating the Index, Section [5] Reporting, and Section [6] References.

    The first draft of Apdex-R began with Sections 1 and 2, then Section 3. This post covers Section 4.

    Continue reading Apdex-R Section [4] Calculating the Index

    Apdex-R Section [3] Calculation Inputs


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    I’m writing a series of posts about Generalizing Apdex. This is #22. To minimize confusion, section numbers in the current spec are accompanied by the section symbol, like this: §1. The corresponding section numbers in the generalized spec documents, Apdex-G and Apdex-R, are enclosed in square brackets and prefixed by the document type, like this: [G 1] and [R 1].

    Drafts of the Apdex-G spec were posted as Section [1] Introduction, Section [2] Index Overview, Section [3] Calculation Inputs, Section [4] Calculating the Index, Section [5] Reporting, and Section [6] References.

    The first draft of Apdex-R began with Sections 1 and 2. This post covers Section 3.

    Continue reading Apdex-R Section [3] Calculation Inputs

    Apdex-R Section [1] Introduction and [2] Overview


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    I’m writing a series of posts about Generalizing Apdex. This is #21. To minimize confusion, section numbers in the current spec are accompanied by the section symbol, like this: §1. The corresponding section numbers in the generalized spec documents, Apdex-G and Apdex-R, are enclosed in square brackets and prefixed by the document type, like this: [G 1] and [R 1].

    Drafts of the Apdex-G spec were posted as Section [1] Introduction, Section [2] Index Overview, Section [3] Calculation Inputs, Section [4] Calculating the Index, Section [5] Reporting, and Section [6] References.

    This post presents the first draft of Apdex-R, Sections 1 and 2. Apdex-R specifies the Apdex rules for reporting response-time measurements, therefore my first draft draws heavily on the present Apdex spec. My goal is to reformat the present spec’s rules within the context established by Apdex-G. To allow both documents to be viewed together, I show Apdex-G (draft #2, plus a few subsequent amendments) on the left, and Apdex-R (draft #1) on the right.

    Differences between Apdex-R and the corresponding sections of the present spec are highlighted, as follows:

    • text deleted from the present spec
    • new text added to Apdex-R (plus a few additions to Apdex-G draft #2)
    • new text created for Apdex-G, now being repeated in Apdex-R for readability
    • notes, questions, issues to be resolved

    While major deletions, additions, and changes to the present spec are marked, many minor wording changes to the present spec’s text, to improve continuity and clarity of meaning, are not marked. I believe those changes do not substantially alter the meaning and intent of the present spec.

    Continue reading Apdex-R Section [1] Introduction and [2] Overview

    Apdex-G Section [6] References


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    I’m writing a series of posts about Generalizing Apdex. This is #20. To minimize confusion, section numbers in the current spec are accompanied by the section symbol, like this: §1. The corresponding section numbers in the generalized spec, Apdex-G, are enclosed in square brackets, like this: [1].

    I have been working systematically through the process of generalizing the current Apdex spec. Along the way, I have been skipping over parts of the current spec to work on the paragraphs that presented challenges. I am now going back to fill in those less contentious paragraphs, posting updated drafts of each section of the Apdex-G spec. The first five are Section [1] Introduction, Section [2] Index Overview, Section [3] Calculation Inputs, Section [4] Calculating the Index, and Section [5] Reporting; today I continue with Section [6] References.

    Continue reading Apdex-G Section [6] References