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Clients & Performance Budgets

by Ryan Irelan

A performance budget sounds great but how do I implement this in the real world, with real clients?

One bit of advice to get started (I learned this the hard way): don’t have an internal-only performance budget and use it to fend off client feature or design requests without first including the client in the formation of said performance budget.

They’ll be confused and you will probably look defensive at best, aloof at worst.

If you have clients that are not used to having a performance budget in a project, then here are some tips for talking about performance budgets with clients:

  • Be transparent. Explain your thinking behind a performance budget, using non-technical terms when needed.
  • Focus on how it helps the project goals. Frame the performance budget in terms of how it will help their website goals (sales, leads, information, etc). How will a well-performing site help your client’s business or cause?
  • Share performance numbers with each update. Every significant deliverable should include information about the performance budget. This is especially true during development.
  • Create use case examples to give context to the performance budget numbers.

It’s always (always!) easier to be upfront and transparent with your clients. Doing the same with performance budget will yield better project results.

The burden is on you–the designer, developer, owner–to show why a performance budget isn’t just some nerdy, tech-y thing that makes us feel good about ourselves and the tools we use. Make it yet another tool that helps you work together with the client toward the project’s larger goals.

Filed Under: Web Performance Testing, Performance Budget, Performance Testing