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11697Re: [webanalytics] Relationship between page load time and drop-off rate?

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  • Wandering Dave Rhee
    Jul 7, 2007
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      Hi, Michelle and all,

      Here's my late contribution to this thread...

      I believe page load has much less to do with the site, or the individual
      page within the site, and everything to do with the expectation of your
      audience for that page.

      For example, on a landing page, the expectations are that my page will load
      within, say, 20% of the time of my competitor's similar landing pages. And
      since landing pages typically load quickly, mine had also better load
      quickly (e.g., sub-4 seconds or whatever).

      But if I'm visiting my bank account info, and they say, "Please wait while
      we retrieve your account information," and give me a little
      clock-spinner-graphic, I expect to wait 10-20 seconds, and won't abandon.
      If, on the other hand, another site of mine usually has no graphic, and no
      "please wait," and my account details load within 4 seconds, then suddenly
      I'm upset if it takes 8-10, even though it may still be faster than my other
      account's very similar site (in terms of functionality and market).

      So if you load as quickly as your visitors expect, you're fine. If you load
      more slowly, and don't lead your customers to expect it, then that's a Bad
      Thing.

      Even for a single content page, you may have a mix of visitors new to your site, and veterans -- they may have different expectations from each other for the same page.

      How do you tell what your visitor expectations are? That's part of the
      value of doing testing with hidden cameras, or interviewing test subjects.
      More expensive, but you're not as likely to get good survey data otherwise
      about expectations of performance, by page.

      WDave


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