In every top 10 website annoyances you will find slow loading of a site. The speed of a website is therefore clearly part of the user experience. A search on Twitter confirms that image: “ Pfff sitting for tickets on what a slow website. Now on , that is much faster” . This tweet makes painfully clear (especially for CheapTickets) how important having a fast website is. But when is a site slow? And another important question: what are the consequences of a slow website?
When is a website slow?
To begin with, it is important to know clearly what is ‘fast’ and what is ‘slow’. The fact that this term is subjective can be seen in the graph opposite, which shows that people want to wait less and less in the past 10 years. In addition, the experience of ‘slow’ depends on the context of the use of the website. For example, users expect to have to wait more than 1.5 seconds on an airline’s website for a list of available flights (search results from VP Quality Email Lists a large database). Provided you give good feedback while waiting, this should have little impact on the user experience. However, those same users do expect the homepage of the same airline to load quickly.
An unequivocal answer to the question of what a slow website is, therefore, cannot be given. Fortunately, there are general guidelines. Research by usability guru Jacob Nielsen shows that interruptions of a maximum of 1.0 second are acceptable to stay in the ‘flow’ of an action.
Google also presents us with target numbers, extracted from the enormous amount of data they have collected. According to Google, a website is experienced as slow above 1.5 seconds loading time , where loading time is the time from the user’s action until the page is completely loaded. These values will probably change in the long run, at least if it is up to Google. Google’s view on this topic is a world where the web is “instant”, as described in Google’s Gospel of Speed .
In short, a website preferably loads around 1.5 seconds, but what if it takes longer? What is the impact of that?