4 Seconds or Bust

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Remember the days of going to bed with your modem humming along downloading pages so you could view them the next morning? I guess those days are far behind us. John Chow posted a note on this study put out by Jupiter that states that most online shoppers will bail out if your page doesn't load in 4 seconds or less.

Based on the feedback of 1,058 online shoppers that were surveyed during the first half of 2006, JupiterResearch offers the following analysis:

  • The consequences for an online retailer whose site underperforms include diminished goodwill, negative brand perception, and, most important, significant loss in overall sales.
  • Online shopper loyalty is contingent upon quick page loading, especially for high-spending shoppers and those with greater tenure.
  • JupiterResearch recommends that retailers make every effort to keep page rendering to no longer than four seconds.

Additional findings in the report show that more than one-third of shoppers with a poor experience abandoned the site entirely, while 75 percent were likely not to shop on that site again. These results demonstrate that a poorly performing website can be damaging to a company's reputation; according to the survey, nearly 30 percent of dissatisfied customers will either develop a negative perception of the company or tell their friends and family about the experience.

This may be a great ‘rule of thumb' for any application. 4 seconds may be a great threshold – with the exception of mass data and large data integrations, a 4 second page may want to be your maximum load time for a page before you decide to optimize or chop up functionality.

If you are a client, this may also be an expectation that you want to set with your vendor. I'm not sure if the rule can be applied across verticals, but I'm fairly confident that impatience is impatience, be it an online store or an online application.

What do you think?

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