10 minute speed dating

Posted by / 11-Apr-2017 22:59

Instead of big images, today's big response-time sinners are typically overly complex data processing on the server or overly fancy widgets on the page (or fancy widgets).

Here's an example from a recent eyetracking study we conducted to generate new material for our training course on Web Page UX Design.

The second user (bottom gaze plot) happened to be looking away from the screen during the 8 seconds when the promotional content downloaded.

Thus, the first time he looked at the page he saw it as intended, complete with the entire promo.

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Slowness (or speed) makes such an impact that it can become one of the brand values customers associate with a site.

(Obviously, "sluggish" is not a brand value that any marketing VP would actively aim for, but the actual experience of using a site is more important than slogans or advertising in forming customer impressions of a brand.) Indeed, we get findings related to website speed almost every time we run a study. The 3 response-time limits are the same today as when I wrote about them in 1993 (based on 40-year-old research by human factors pioneers): A 10-second delay will often make users leave a site immediately.

When sites shave as little as 0.1 seconds off response time, the outcome is a juicy lift in conversion rates. And even if they stay, it's harder for them to understand what's going on, making it less likely that they'll succeed in any difficult tasks.

Even a few seconds' delay is enough to create an unpleasant user experience.

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The following gaze plots show two different users' behavior on the same page, which contained a slideshow widget in the top yellow box that required 8 seconds to download: The test participant in the top gaze plot fixated a few times within the big empty color block before the content downloaded, then spent the remaining time looking at the rest of the page.