Everyone knows the old adage “You can’t judge a book by its cover”, but we don’t seem so lenient with blogs or other websites.
In some cases we often a judge a website before we’ve even seen it.
One report claims that if a website does not load within 4 seconds a visitor will abandon your website. That means if a website fails to load in a timely manor we’ve already made a judgment out it, and probably won’t be visiting it again soon, even without seeing its design or reading its content.
Website authors go to great lengths to make sure their websites load quickly as possible, but there are many factors that can affect how quickly a website loads, many out of the control of people actually running a website, so why then are they judged on how quickly their site loads?
Even once a website loads visitor will often make judgment about whether to stay or go, in 4-8 seconds. Are people really that busy? So busy that they can only spare 8 seconds to make up their minds about a website. Reading even one entire page of a website might be enough to judge the overall quality.
I am a big fan of minimalism in websites, but if we’re so concerned about loading speeds might we doing a dis-service to visitors. There is a fine line between keeping a website fast and lean and removing too much from a website, so that once it does load people abandon it.
Are content producers being forced to write superficial content that can be scanned quickly to trap the visitors? If content is king, why not take a few minutes to read some of that content, instead of just the headline (what else can you do in 4-8 seconds?) or basing the decision on the design/layout of the website.
How much time to you spending looking over a website? How does a website loading slowly affect your evaluation of a website?