I have a bit of trade off to make between a great design and a page that loads really quickly. Could anyone shed some light on how quickly users will leave a page if it is loading slowly, and is user patience still as big an issue on the internet? As an aside, how many people actually have broadband?! (in the UK that is) Many thanks!
Whether users are using high speed or not, the site should always load fast. Just because people have a higher connection, it is not an invitation to abuse their time and resources.
Make pages that load fast on dial up connections first and foremost.
Users don't stay long on Web sites. Even when pages load fast, they usually stay 30 seconds and less. So imagine a slow loading page. As soon as visitors see a page lagging when visiting a site, they will leave. That's a windonw of about 4 seconds at most.
Harry - apologies for not acknowledging your post sooner! I agree about user friendliness and building/designing a site that loads as fast as possible. There is always some kind of trade-off however, and a fast loading page will impinge on our preferred design / navigation / amount of content. I suppose the question is, although I want to make it load as fast as possible, are their other stats to show what people will find acceptable? I'm hoping that your 4 second rule is slightly bendable! Thanks
For me the issue isn't how fast the entire page loads, but how fast usable and relavant content is rendered -- even if more packets are still downloading. This has a lot to do with how your html is written as well as how well your graphics are optimized.
Five seconds for usable content on a dial-up connection works for me. But the phenomenon I see much too often is fragmentation: the "designer" who doesn't understand any html at all, but only worries about aesthetics. This is NOT an artistic option in my way of thinking -- any artist needs to master their media as well as have a good sense of aesthetics.
I have recently read in a google news article that the average internet user will leave after 7 seconds. I'm guessing this would be less time for high speed users, but more time for dial-up. I think the thing to focus on, is like was said before, concentrate on getting relevant information displayed first, and then move on to the fancy, but still keep it down to modest amounts, because a pretty site is nothing in comparison to a well written functional site that is topped off with good content.