The Flicker Effect

The flicker effect is a common problem when using client-side A/B testing platforms (FigPii, Optimizely, VWO, etc). Conducting an A/B test by using a JavaScript to manipulate a webpage causes the flicker affect.

As the name implies, the effect happens when the original page flickers on the screen first and then a variation is loaded.

Technically any type of test that uses a JavaScript to manipulate the DOM elements of the original page and to display any of the variations will suffer from the flicker affect. This happens because the testing engine must do the following:

  1. Determine whether the page is included in the test.
  2. Load the original page with all its elements.
  3. Finally apply the DOM manipulation JavaScript to change the page from the original to one of the variations.

How fast the original page flickers is impacted by several factors including:

  1. How fast the testing software determines whether a page is included in an A/B test or not.
  2. How fast the original webpage loads.
  3. How fast the testing software loads the manipulation script.
  4. How efficient the DOM manipulation JavaScript is.
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