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„Never underestimate the importance of fast”, Google CEO Eric Schmidt proclaimed in 2010.

You don’t have to be Google to know that speeding up the website will increase the user experience and will help you achieve the goals of your website.

We (Humans) Simply Want It Fast

It is good to admit that users are actually just humans. In the 1960s, Robert B. Miller tested the perception of the speed of the user interface and in the 1990s, Jacob Nielsen took over the results. They tested the patience of people while waiting for a response from the interface after doing a user action.

  • up to 100 ms – we perceive it at an instant response
  • up to 1 second – we can experience the delay but we will not interrupt the action
  • over 10 seconds – we lose focus and we tend to start performing other tasks

There are some other interesting numbers related to human perceptual abilities that can be found at the Google Developer site.

Page Load Speed Has a Significant Impact on The Success of the Website

At least that is what studies and test of this topic say.

Wallmart, for example, has calculated that each 1-second page load acceleration will increase their conversion rate by two percent.

Other case studies show us that increasing the site’s load speed will positively influence all key indicators - conversion rate, page views, the number of visits or the customer satisfaction. All world stats can be found at WPO stats. If you prefer infographics, just take a look here.

Speed Also Affects Listing of AdWords Ads and Generic Google Search Results

Don’t forget that the load speed is one of the listing parameters of the AdWords campaigns.

Google says that the load speed will affect the search results. And the order of the results is directly affected by the server loading speed.

Speed is, therefore, affecting not only conversions but the possibility a user will land on your website as well.

Mobile Connection Will Never Be Equal To The Wired One

Even if the transmission speed is increasing on 3G/4G networks, it will never be the same as your home or office connection. You ask why? The key problem is latency, i.e. the time it takes for the client to connect to the server.

Just take a look at the following table. It is inspired by a book by Ilya Grigorik, High Performance Browser Networking:

Connection Mbit/s transfer rate Latency (ms)
2G/EDGE 0,1 - 0,4 300 - 1000
3G 0,5 - 5 100 - 500
4G/LTE 1 - 50 < 100
Wifi 1 - 50 < 10

The explanation is quite clear - the architecture of the mobile connection network is far more complex than the wired one. The data travel through the air, we use BTS and they can be busy.

The Western world is covered by LTE networks, however, this speed is not accessible for everyone, and will not be for a long time.

The conclusion is that it is wise to look into load speed of your website. It is very likely you will draw more traffic to your website and a fast website will significantly improve key indicators that show your website’s success.

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Martin Michalek

Author: Martin Michalek

Freelance front-end designer based in Prague, the Czech Republic. Technical writer who gives lectures about CSS3, responsive design and modern web UI development.

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