We're working to make Emma better - and faster. And we owe you a cup of coffee (more on that below).

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  • Announcement
  • Updated 3 years ago
  • (Edited)
We know how much you value (and need) a fast, responsive Emma. After all, great software isn't just about the right features or an intuitive interface - it's about technology that helps you do your job well and otherwise gets out of your way. 

This past Monday, we were in your way. A portion of the servers that power Emma's application experienced unusually high load, resulting in slowness that basically made our software unusable for some customers. And we feel awful about it. Providing a great experience is supposed to be our thing, and instead we caused a whole lot of frustration for a whole lot of people we care about.

But as bad as Monday was, there are things about the Emma software experience that are slower than they should be all the time. Too many clicks to get here, too many seconds waiting to get there. Speed is a central part of a great and modern software experience, and we wanted to let you know that we're taking dead aim at moving you through your Emma work more quickly. 

We're in the process of expanding what you can do in the Audience section of your account - better searching, more advanced segmenting, svelter (is that a word?) signup forms to go with the recently added Lightbox forms, and so on. But the biggest win will likely be the speed with which you're able to do those things and more. That work has been going on all summer, and we'll begin to roll those enhancements out as soon as they're ready, starting this fall.

The editor. We've spent a whole lot of time trying to build the best campaign creation experience out there, but some editing work simply takes too long under certain circumstances. We've got a slew of improvements to overall performance planned for the weeks and months ahead, and we know that in this spot, where people spend most of their time, helping you get your campaigns created, tested and out the door - quickly! - is Job One for us.

Beyond that, a task force of user experience designers and engineers is presently looking for ways throughout the entire Emma product to save you clicks and ultimately save you time on days when Emma is just one part of your busy day and needs to act like it.

On that note, if you were working with Emma on Monday and struggled to get your email marketing done for the day, we owe you. And let's start by buying you (and your team) a cup of coffee - it's the least we could do. Simply click here to claim your cup o' joe and let us know how many people are on your marketing team so we can make sure there's enough to go around.

From there, look for some hard work from the Emma product team to start showing up in big ways as we deliver on our promise to provide the very best product experience imaginable. Thanks for being with us on the journey.

Regards,
David

David Wright, Emma VP of Product
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David Wright, VP of Product Management

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Posted 3 years ago

  • 9
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Dean

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The amount clicks are not really the problem. The Emma site is just slow. Always.
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Kyle Floyd, Official Rep

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Hi Dean,

In re-reading David's post, I can totally see how a key take away would be that we are decreasing the number of "clicks" it takes to perform an action. To add some more clarity, there are system and server issues that are directly related to the performance of the application. We know that speed and stability of Emma is of utmost importance and to use David's words, "we've got a slew of improvements to overall performance planned for the weeks and months ahead." While making those improvements, there will also be an awareness of how a user completes a task and if we can make that task or process even faster by eliminating unnecessary steps, then we will also make those updates.

We will continue to provide information here as we work to make Emma better for you.
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Kyle Floyd, Official Rep

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I wanted to let you all know that as of 3:40PM CDT on Friday September 4, we’ve received, configured and installed additional server hardware to provide an immediate performance boost to the Emma platform. While this does not solve the underlying issues which we are still hard-at-work to resolve, it will improve the experience for all users, and allow us to focus on improving the performance trends that existed prior to this week.
(Edited)
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David Wright, VP of Product Management

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Hello everyone,

As Kyle mentioned on Friday, we added a server to the mix to help alleviate some of the slowness that has been felt in moving around the app. As a result, we’ve seen improvement with page load times.

However, much of the feedback that we’ve received is specific to the performance of typing or deleting text within the editor. We are moving quickly to make sure the editor performs as expected. We’re looking for the primary cause of the delay that that can be experienced when inputting and/or removing text and are refactoring parts of the editor where we know we can help improve the overall performance.

We’re aiming to release improvements daily to help make the email creation experience as enjoyable as possible. We’ll be posting updates here as we have more to share.

Thanks,
David
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David Wright, VP of Product Management

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I wanted to provide a quick update to let you know that we've made progress toward resolving a few issues that we feel could be affecting the performance of working within the editor. We are planning to release this work tomorrow afternoon. I'll include more details about what's going out and what you can expect as a result at that time. Thanks for your continued patience.

David
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David Wright, VP of Product Management

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Hello everyone,

We just released some changes aimed to improve the overall performance of Emma, including:

  • Additional caching to help speed up page load time in the editor
  • Not loading an account’s My Template thumbnails until a user clicks “Show templates”
  • Reducing the number of database calls on login and across the app
  • Additional metrics to further measure, monitor and prioritize work to improve performance

We will be measuring the impact of these changes over the next 24 hours. As I mentioned yesterday, we’re aiming to release improvements as we go. Thanks again for helping to identify the key pain points.

Best,
David
(Edited)
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David Wright, VP of Product Management

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Hello everyone,

Here’s a quick update to let you know that we released a few things last night around 11:40pm CDT including more caching of files used in the editor and throughout the app, and additional metrics to measure and monitor the proofing process.

While you work in the editor, we proof your content to check things like the validity of your links, whether or not you have personalization defaults, your overall spam score and overall mailings size. We currently proof every time the editor saves your work. We now have data that supports that decoupling these two processes should improve the speed at which the editor saves your work as you go. We’re seeing positive results from early testing when proofing is out of the saving equation. So, we are currently reworking the proofing to happen only when you click “send test” or “review and send”, rather than each time the editor saves. We are planning to complete and release this work next week.

Ahead of that, on Monday we will be releasing a few more items:

  • Lazy-loading template gallery preview images to improve the initial page load of the template gallery
  • Reducing the number of connections to Redis to improve overall page load time across Emma
  • Resizing images on upload if they’re greater than 1280px wide to improve the performance of working with larger images in the editor
  • Optimizing the responsiveness of typing in the editor (we’re seeing 3x+ speed improvements per keypress)

Thanks again for your patience. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. If there are specific parts of the Emma experience that are particularly slow for you, we’d love to know so that we can pinpoint the issues.

Best,
David

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David Wright, VP of Product Management

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Hello everyone,

As a follow-up to my note on Friday, we released the following today at 10:35am CDT:
  • Lazy-loading template gallery preview images to improve the initial page load of the template gallery
  • Reducing the number of connections to Redis to improve overall page load time across Emma
  • Resizing images on upload if they’re greater than 1280px wide to improve the performance of working with larger images in the editor
We plan to release some changes to optimize the responsiveness of typing in the editor later this afternoon or tomorrow.

We'd love to hear your feedback on whether Emma is feeling faster for you and/or whether certain parts are still slower than expected. We have measurements in place, but it's always helpful to hear directly from our customers. Thanks! 

Best,
David
(Edited)
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David Wright, VP of Product Management

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Hello again,

We just released some additional changes aimed to improve the overall performance of Emma at 4:55pm CDT, including:
    • Optimizing the responsiveness of typing in the editor
    • Fixing javascript errors to clean up our performance tracking metrics
    • Improving the experience around uploading animated GIFs
    As I mentioned on Friday, we now have data to suggest that decoupling proofing from autosaving should improve the speed at which the editor saves your work as you go. We are reworking the proofing to happen only when you click “send test” or “review and send”, rather than each time the editor saves.

    Hopefully your overall Emma experience has improved through the server changes and product releases we've made since the 4th. We'll keep you posted as we continue working to make Emma better and faster.  

    Best,
    David
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    Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

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    I'm jumping into this discussion late, and I apologize if this has been covered elsewhere, but I didn't really see it anywhere else. If there's a more appropriate place to address this question, I'd appreciate being pointed in the right direction. TIA.

    The biggest slowdown we've noticed in our shop is an ever-increasing lag time between when a mailing launches and when we start to notice responses in the Response tab. This morning we sent out a mailing at approximately 10:10 and as of 11:35 this morning it still appears as if no e-mails have been delivered.

    It would be helpful if the process were slightly less opaque so we could determine if the issue has to do with high Emma server load, some error on our end, or some additional issue. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.
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    David Wright, VP of Product Management

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    Hi Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia,

    Thanks for your feedback. The delay you're experiencing is definitely not an error on *your* end. Mailings are being delivered successfully and all response data (opens, clicks, shares, delivery, etc.) is being recorded, but we're currently experiencing delays in processing the data in order to display it back in Emma.

    It looks like you're seeing at least an 85 minute delay on your latest mailing. Could you please confirm whether the response data for that mailing is appearing for you now?

    The delay in response data being loaded to your account is driven by the number of emails that we're sending and reporting back on. We have measures in place to scale our processing to keep the delay at a minimum. At the moment, we're running at about a 100-minute delay in getting response back into Emma.

    When we implemented the new response overview last July, we put a lot of thought into providing a real-time experience with response metrics. The actual overview is designed to pull back new metrics without having to refresh the page. We launched our mobile app Metric with real-time access to metrics in mind, too.

    Unfortunately, we know we're not hitting the mark when the data isn't coming back real-time. Getting this data back to you quickly is key to the overall experience of sending through Emma. We're reviewing ways to make this process faster.

    Thanks again for the feedback. Please let me know if you have any other questions regarding response data.

    Thanks,
    David
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    Water Street Design

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    Hello.

    We have been an Emma customer for almost a year. We have found this software to be the slowest most frustrating software to use. As a design firm that would like to offer this service to clients we can not in good conscious do that right now. We want to believe in the company and its mission, we have even came to Marketing United training but this slow issue is starting to make us rethink continuing with Emma. We have run into multiple issues just trying to log in over the past year. It seems all the bells and whistles on the hippest coolest new features are being fore fronted over the fundamental functionality of this software. I really hope this gets resolved.

    Thanks,
    Shanna Mueller
    (Edited)
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    Dave Ruch

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    I find it really interesting that Emma is just now acknowledging how slow the software is.  I have been sending screen shots, videos and emails to support for YEARS about it, and it always comes back to "Hey Dave, we can't duplicate that on our end" or "We're not hearing about delays from any of our other customers."  Support is always friendly, but has NEVER been the least bit helpful or forthright on the speed issues.
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    Kelli Liszka, Official Rep

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    If you’ve been following along here, you know that in recent weeks, all of Emma’s Product and Engineering teams have been taking a microscope to our application and codebase to see where we can make changes to improve the speed, performance and stability of Emma. We hope that you are able to feel those improvements in your account -- but we aren’t finished yet.

    As we were digging into charts and graphs that represent clicks, processing, wait times and coffee intake, we noticed a trend in the drag and drop editor. A very slow trend. As it was set up, every time your mailing would autosave our proofing tool would also run. The proofer looks through your mailing to find any potential red flags that might cause delivery issues. It measures the width and weight of your mailing (built up formatting can weigh things down), scans for phrases or key items that might get the attention of a spam filter, checks that links are in proper format, clicks links to try to get the website to load, makes sure you’ve got the required opt-out tag to meet federal requirements, and double-checks that your personalization tags have placeholders and are in the right format. Whew! As you can imagine, checking every single one of those items when the mailing autosaves will take its toll and create a drag while you’re creating your mailing. We set out to change that.

    Because sending emails is the heart, soul and purpose of our business (and yours!), we are careful and intentional with any changes we make. The overall goal was to speed up the mailing creation without adding roadblocks or extra things for you to remember to do along the way. We landed on integrating proofing into the sending process.

    How it works now:

    With proofing and autosave decoupled, everything should feel a little faster as you’re building your mailing. The autosave should be firing along the way, quickly and quietly. Once you’ve decided that you’re ready to send yourself a test (or if you live on the edge and go straight to review & send), you’ll notice a new modal that pops up:



    The amount of time you’ll see the new modal depends on the length and complexity of your mailing, but it should only take a few seconds. The proofer has always run at this point, so it’s not actually adding any time; now we’re just letting you know what we’re up to! If you are in the clear, you’ll see the send test panel or be taken to the review & send page (depending on which button you clicked) and you’re good to go!

    If the proofer found any issues that could be potentially problematic, we’ll give you a heads up:



    At this point, you can decide if you’d like to take a look at the issues that the proofer came across. Clicking ‘Review and fix issues’ will take you back to the editor, where you’ll see the list of issues (this might look familiar, it is the same modal we previously displayed to highlight proofing issues as you created mailings):



    After you’ve addressed your issues, or if you decide that everything looks good (the proofer isn’t perfect and will sometimes give a false positive for a link that it’s unable to load but which actually works, for example), just click to send again. The proofer will run again, and if the previous issues are cleared up, you’ll be taken to the send page. If it’s still getting snagged on an issue, you’ll see that heads up message again, but just click ‘Send anyway’ to keep moving.

    That’s it! And speaking of graphs and charts, a little show and tell.... This charts shows that as a result of this particular release, our processors are doing less work to accomplish the same tasks as before, only faster, freeing up capacity for other interactions. Enjoy!

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    Emily Hollingsworth, Alum

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    Hi friends -- If you're still following along here, I wanted to point you to our latest update on app performance improvements. We'll be posting regular updates in the form of Release Notes just like that one so you can stay up to date on the work we're doing to make your Emma experience smooth and stable.

    To receive updates to your inbox, you can click to follow the Product Conversations and Release Notes categories. Thanks!