A quarter of a second matters |

When planning a website, marketers focus on functionalities, user experience (UX) and appearance, which is supposed to reflect the desired brand image. And rightly so. But it is worth remembering that UX, the subjective impression of the user, and finally – conversions and the implementation of business plans – are affected by the speed of the website. And significantly.

The problem concerns especially e-commerce. According to calculations by Bain & Co., quoted by IBM, A 5% reduction in customer churn caused by a negative UX could result in a 25-125% increase in profitability e-commerce, depending on the industry. Each user has a different tolerance for long page loading. But a number of observations confirm that it is clear the limit is 4 seconds – at least half of us can’t take it anymore. Also, most conversions happen on pages that take less than 4 seconds to load. Reducing the page load time always gives a significant increase in the conversion rate and profitability of the store – both for a global giant and a large specialist store.

The matter is even more important in connection with the spread of web browsing on mobile devices. 2 years ago in the US 4 out of 10 users left mobile pages that didn’t load within 3 seconds. Thus, the expectations of the user of a mobile device are even higher than those of a “desktop user”. A complex study by Radware showed that slow mobile pages cause a significant increase in frustration and decrease in engagement during the visit.

What’s more – this negative experience also affects the future of the user’s relationship with the brand: It lowers the desire to buy and even builds negative connotations brands with characteristics like “boring”, “inelegant”, “clumsy”. Thus performance website can significantly affect the perception of the brand.

So we know that it is worth investing. Another question arises – how much and what, because it is known that the marginal utility of each investment decreases. Therefore, what is the impact of page load speed on business results? Microsoft and Google specialists say about 250 milliseconds, that is 1/4 second. The psychology of perception knows this value – 250-350 ms is the average eye fixation time. Because our sight works a bit like a radar, in 2 modes: searching and tracking. In search mode, the moving eyeballs stop for 1/4-1/3 of a second on objects in the environment so that the brain, not yet consciously, assesses whether the object is worth tracking – this is called fixation. This means that the distraction and impatience of the “typical Internet user” have already reached a biological limit. And so the race to his wallet is fierce.

I remember when the first WYSIWYG website editors appeared. Many people said then: why do we need programmers, if you can put together a page yourself in Pajączek or even Powerpoint. One of the arguments for a professional approach was the redundant code generated by these editors. Its processing took time for computers, and above all – it consumed the resources of Internet connections. In times when the dial-up modem was king, it was a really important argument. I guess the story has come full circle. Today, anyone can build a very nice and rich website using even WordPress, hundreds of templates and thousands of plugins. However, the growing demands on the usability of websites mean that a modern website can also be slow. And the problem lies not so much in the link resources as in the user’s attention resources. That’s why professional website coding is a worthwhile investment.

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