The advancement of technology has created the common user’s expectation to not only solve their problems quickly, but instantaneously. Users expect that when they inquire about the weather on their mobile device, an immediate response of a seven day forecast of the temperature and potential precipitation should be displayed.
As short as a five second delay on the response can lead to the user being irritated and frustrated with the particular application. In order to avoid these newly found pain points in the user, UX designers need to fully understand the user’s expectations on load times to ensure the development is up to the standards of the user.
Key Time Indicators
Research done during UX research services have discovered that websites and mobile applications have 100ms to respond to a user before they notice a lag. Once this lag is noticed it does not take much more time for the user to be annoyed.
Beyond the one second (1,000 ms) time frame the user will start to lose focus on the task that was performing. It is critical to not allow it to reach this point without providing any response to the user. The rule of thumb is for anything taking longer than 500 ms to load, you should be providing feedback to the user.
The Gold Standard: Google’s RAIL Model
Google is a driving force on where majority of users are developing their expectations. The faster Google operates, the faster the standard becomes. Google measures their performance of load time by using the RAIL Model.
RAIL stands for response, animation, idle and load. For Google’s standard responsiveness, their mobile websites must occur within 100 ms to satisfy the user. The goal for animation and idle is the page should is expected to load less than 1/10 of a second.
The load time is the biggest focus by Google, having a standard of 1 second for load time. This is a goal that Google sets for it’s own search engine.
Although the standard set by Google is one that all mobile application development agencies should strive for, it is not necessarily always practical. A reasonable standard that all websites and apps need to follow to maintain a good UX is a load time less than 4 seconds.
Currently, the average load time for most pages on the web is 7 seconds, which is significantly longer than where they should be. Cutting this load time in half would greatly improve the UX of the website or app.
Load Time Affects Conversions
Some of the statistics to keep in mind when developing a website or app to fit these criteria is that on a m-commerce platform, 40% of abandon the site if the load time is longer than 3 seconds. Then with each additional second of loading, there is a 7% reduction in conversions.
Keeping in mind these metrics are critical for the user experience and ensuring optimization of a website or mobile app. If you are noticing a lag in your load time, you should consider developing your website or app with web development agency. The loss in revenue from the loss in conversions could require the help of an expert team.
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