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Website Monitoring: Uncovering Issues with CSS

Level 14

Today, let’s draw our attention to a front-end application, cascading style sheet (CSS), and how it can affect website performance. The objective is to leverage a web performance monitoring tool and continually monitor the end-user experience for each Web transaction.

Web designers work extensively to offer great user experience. In doing that, a lot of thought goes behind giving websites a clean look for making it easy on the eye, smooth navigation for seamless transition between pages, and having a usable site ensures continuous traffic. When you’re specifically visiting websites for answers to questions, it’s important that the page elements (e.g. fonts, images, and the page layout) stand out and are inviting enough to pull you in.

However, in spite of having all the right credentials, sometimes when a website loads, it only displays hyperlinks and text. This happens when the style sheet fails to load, so images and text elements do not get displayed as intended.  Another potential problem with CSS is that can sometimes take a long time to load for sites with graphic-heavy content.

css 1.PNG

What’s the Root Cause?

Inappropriate CSS reset: By not doing a proper CSS reset, Web pages are rendered differently, so the layout and format might look different on different computer screens.

Color names cause mix-up: Using color names incorrectly causes a Web page to display text in wrong or different colors.

Long CSS code: Lengthy CSS code will only mean that your website is going to take a longer time to load.

Failure of page elements: Images, graphics, and page layout can sometimes fail to load or takes unacceptable amounts of time to load completely.

Failure of text and image style elements: Failure to set correct parameters for text and image elements in Web pages can cause them to display in smaller fonts and shrunken images.

Location-specific issues: CSS files and its elements look different in depending on physical or geographic location.

CSS problems are quickly noticed by end-users, so they need to be fixed immediately to reduce abandonment. So, it is critical to monitor website and Web transactions to be aware and stay ahead of issues like these.

CSS Monitoring Tips:

Record the Web transaction:  This will establish a baseline for how your applications should perform. When pages (steps) perform slowly, you will get an alert that there is a problem with the specific page/step of the transaction.

Monitor load speeds: Keep an eye on page load speeds and page elements load times, paying special attention to images, Java Script, CSS files, and .aspx framework.

css 2.jpg

o Drill down to take a detailed look at the page elements. Here you will see whether CSS is the culprit or if the problem is related to another issue.css 3.jpg

Monitor Web page behavior and validate content from multiple locations: Since you can’t be everywhere at once, you can play back Web transactions from multiple locations and see if the page is actually loading content as intended.

o When recording the transaction, you can monitor for the image match – i.e., whether the image that is played back actually matches the image that you recorded.  This will validate whether the page is loading content as intended.

o After you record the transaction, you can deploy it to locations where you have players installed. You can always leverage the Amazon EC2 cloud to deploy players where you do not have a physical operation.


css 4.jpg

To monitor CSS issues automaticly, test drive a free trial of SolarWinds Web Performance Monitor today in your own environment.

Stay tuned to learn more about how web performance monitoring tools can keep an eye on other front-end application issues. In the meantime, keep on styling!

1 Comment
Level 15

Thanks for the information.

About the Author
I've been with SolarWinds for over eight years in product marketing, customer success and field enablement roles. Currently, I'm focused on improving business outcomes for our enterprise accounts with SolarWinds IT operations management portfolio. Prior to joining SolarWinds, I worked at IBM as a product manager, and served in other departments including strategy and finance. I have an MBA from Texas A&M University and a BA in Political Science/Russian Language from Oklahoma State University.