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The loading time was second only to pricing in making people decide whether to purchase from a particular site.
4 seconds is half the time most shoppers were willing to give in the last survey, presumably because broadband connections have upped people's expectations for how quickly a site can appear.
[edited by: lorax at 1:58 pm (utc) on Nov. 12, 2006]
[edit reason] corrected to match report [/edit]
It's certainly easy to A/B test fast/slow entry pages. Wouldn't that be a better way to test what consumers REALLY want?
Right. It is also easy to guess the results, depending on your demographics.
Buttom line: people do not want to wait AT ALL. Everything over 1 second feels like waiting. So IMHO this is the goal.
ok, I'm a bit cranky at the moment. That the customer won't wait 4 seconds is unreasonable, as most of us seem to agree. But does it matter what we think? Where do you make your money? From the customer! Any other answer is wrong.
Agreed. Me the geek... I don't like waiting 2 seconds. Me the webmaster, I market everything to anyone as fast as possible.
I don't know how many times people here have claimed AOL is worth "nothing" because it has a declining user base. (AOL is worth billions of dollars.) Gosh, I don't know anyone who uses AOL, why even consider it? says the naive webmaster.
Here we see the assumption that since fewer people are using dial-up, we should go with the trend and design for broadband. And not just DSL or cable, but T1. And that users are looking more for an experience like television than the web circa 1997.
If you all want to do 200K landing pages, it's fine with me. You're going to lose customers, but that just means all the more customers for the sites that provide a better experience.
Agreed. Me the geek... I don't like waiting 2 seconds.
I don't think anyone is suggesting that sites should be slow. Clearly the pages should render as quickly as possible but there is a limit. That limit is the time it takes your brain to process information.
You guys who are quoting one second and two seconds are clearly not being realistic. It is very difficult to make a decision not to wait for a second or two because it takes the brain that amount of time to process what is happening on the screen. Yes, this applies even when nothing is happening on the screen. The brain must recognises this and make the decision to go for the back button.
It's just not practical to do this in less than two or three seconds. Those of you who are claiming that you do must be surfing with your mouse pointer poised over the back button getting ready to click if nothing happens instantaneously. Can I just point out that you guys are missing out on a lot of Internet content? ;)
Seriously, I do think knowing what all has to go on, how many electrons have to flow from here to a data center thousands of miles away call a process then output data back to electron from back to me... I do have more patience. Of course my browsing habits tend to have an average of ten tabs open and when I click a link it may be several minutes before that tab regains focus again.
One thing that may have had more effect on the stats and research, at least then, would be what was loading in those critical few seconds of human attention. Many people who quote those stats use them as one reason why google and other 'fast loading' sites had/have grown in popularity.
But in designing sites to load fast, the user interface was normally slimmed down and simpler. Sites like google and many others had clean, simple interfaces, which happened to load fast. In contrast search 'portal' sites had rows and rows of data and options for the user. Took a long time to load, yes. But more importantly, especially before everyone was web savvy, the result was a busy and confusing interface. Which in the end, I think had more to do with making those 2-4 second stats than the actual load time which was just a byproduct of clean pages.
One other thing that is lost in the explanation for this stated data;
"75% wont shop there again if the site has tech problems"
How much of online buying is impulse? We're obviously not talking the major players here. If I find an item at a few small online stores, I'll pick one. If that site won't let me finish the transaction I'll pick a different site and buy it there... I'll never remember the site I *almost* bought something at.
If the limit is not 4 seconds today, trust me it is out there somewhere, just waiting to catch up with the slow sites.
What are the arguments to not get the load times below 4 seconds?
What are the arguments to not get the load times below 4 seconds?
There are no arguments. If you read the thread you will see that no one is proposing that sites should not load quickly.
All I am saying is that striving to get less than two seconds is a waste of time for reasons stated in my previous post.
well, not a good example; you know WebmasterWorld and the content. The idea is that instead of buying shoes from slow-shoe-site.com you go one of the dozen or so faster ones.
Its all about usability, if a site is of clear open design, and doesn't waste time/bandwidth un-neccessarily, then people will enjoy using it and perhaps even buy more.
If instead your site looks like Yahoo's front page... then you really need to deal with your visual polution. Oh and don't use flash, this isn't a movie theater and we're not here to buy popcorn.
Just for giggles I tried to access Akami's site via google - here is the message I got (11/19/2006):
"You have reached this page by going to an Akamai Technologies registered domain. In 20 seconds, you will automatically be sent to www.akamai.com."
Thank you for your continuing interest in Akamai Technologies."
I have broadband, and sometimes it can take more than 4 seconds for the domain name to resolve. I wouldn't be looking at many sites, if any, at all if I didn't wait more than 4 seconds.
But, the question is, is someone sitting behind people with a stopwatch to determine how long they actually wait for a page to load, or is it just based on how long people say they wait?
Because, how many people have no grasp on time? When someone asks you if you have a second (or a minute), how often is it really a second or really 60 seconds that they're wanting from you?
The smaller your page size, the quicker it can load, all for the better. But, I would be distrustful of a survey that (a) is done by a company whose revenue derives from making people's sites faster (though, in my experience, web sites are frequently stalling when trying to fetch something from an Akamai server) and (b) is based on responses and not scientific evidence.
They may say 3-4 seconds, but what they might really mean is 6-8 seconds. Hard to know for sure unless someone is watching them with a stopwatch while they shop or surf online.