There are three core aspects necessary to understand page speed in the context of user experience and website performance:
- The view of time taken in delivering the requested material along with the accompanying HTML content to the browser.
- Browser response to page load requests.
- The view of end-users as the requested web page renders on the browser – this is the ultimate empirical measure of page load speed.
Acceptable Website Performance – The Neuroscience and Rhythm
100 milliseconds. That’s how long the Occipital lobe in our brain stores visual information as a Sensory memory.
Google researchers suggest page load times of less than 100 milliseconds give visitors the illusion of instantaneous website response as the visual Sensory memory processor in our brain works in bursts of 100 milliseconds. The memory store clears itself after 0.1 seconds as photoreceptor cells in the eyes transmit more information to the Occipital lobe.
1 second of page load time does suffice in maintaining a seamless flow of thought – users feel in control of their Web browsing activities, and the mental stress is not aggravated unless the website fails to respond as desired.
At 10 seconds of delay, visitor attention is barely kept. The sensation of impatience, frustration, and feeling of abandonment is usually strong enough to keep visitors from revisiting such slow websites again.
Slow? How Slow?
Anything slower than the blink of an eye – 400 milliseconds. Engineers at Google have discovered that the barely perceptible page load time 0.4 seconds is long enough to cause users to search less.
The technology has come a long way in improving INTERNET experience. The over-crowded cyberworld of the 1990s was often labeled as the World Wide Wait, but innovations in communication and networking technologies have revolutionized the way digital information is transmitted across the INTERNET. The next generation of on-line businesses have all the resources they need to deliver content instantaneously, but to leverage and complement these resources, businesses need speed-optimized websites that deliver the best user experience.
Microsoft speed specialist and computer scientist Harry Shum believes 0.25 seconds of difference in page load time – faster or slower – is the magic number dictating competitive advantages for on-line businesses.