Website Response Time Rule: Eight Seconds, Plus or Minus Two

By | March 4, 2011
SPEED is @ the core of Utility, Usability & Likability for any website. This post highlights the key factors under each area that will help you understand the impact on website visitors and hence assist you in crafting appropriate course of action for your website/contents.
    SPEED FACTORS
    1. Load time of website
    2. Standard visitor’s wait time for loading is 4 seconds
    3. Visitor’s high perception of usability, likability, and utility could increase wait time

  • USABILITY FACTORS
    1. Visitor’s perceived ease of use
    2. Simplistic and intuitive site/content navigation
    3. Ease of performing desired task
    1. Visitor’s level of comfort and familiarity to the site
    UTILITY FACTORS
    1. Visitor’s perceived usefulness of a website
    1. Working order of a website
    1. Working order of navigation
    1. Relevant content
    1. Search engine visibility
    LIKABILITY FACTORS (One site v/s the other(s))
    1. Visitor’s perceived attitude towards the website
    1. Visual Layout
    1. Messaging effectiveness
    2. Ability to meet needs
    3. Graphics & Text appropriateness
    4. Visitor’s overall experience
    Actions for Page Performance (Speed)
    1. Reduce the # of HTTP requests
    1. Minify the content/code (JS, CSS, HTML)
    1. Compress the contents using GZIP/Deflat
    1. Optimize Images (using lossless compression)
    1. Use CSS Sprites to reduce the # of images and hence the # of HTTP requests
    2. Enable HTTP compression on your web server
    1. Use CDN – Content Delivery Networks like Akamai
    2. Reduce the # of JS & CSS by combining the JS and CSS into single or less # of files respectively (never merge the contents of JS & CSS)
    1. Force parallel browser requests using Multiple host names using CNAME setup
    1. Specify dimensions for Images
    1. Make sure JS are not in the <head> of your page, unless absolutely necessary
    2. Order should be CSS 1st, then JS

  • All of above will drive “Perceived performance” and improve stickiness of customers to your site/pages.
    Free Website Performance Measuring Tool
    Below tools will come handy for you to measure website page performance and also, get detailed analysis on which areas to focus to get better page response times
    1. AOL PageTest Plug-in for IE
    1. HTTP Watch
    2. Fiddler 2
    1. FireBug Addon for Firefox
    1. YSlow Addon for Firefox (also needs FireBug)
    2. Google PageSpeed
    1. LORI addon for Firefox
    All of above will drive “Perceived performance” and improve stickiness of customers to your site/pages.
 

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