Fast loading websites and mobile apps are critical to a good user experience. Speed is key to keeping users in a good mood, and it is critical to customer conversion in ecommerce. 

In this week's UX Power Up, Frank covers the topic of speed, and what constitutes best practice for hitting the ideal load time. We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! 

Transcript of video above... 


Franks Spillers here, founder of Experience Dynamics - and it's time for this week's UX Power Up.

In this session, I'd like to talk about the Need For Speed.

So, speed is one of those really important elements, it's kind of one of those background user experience elements that really makes the difference with how users are able to fluidly go through your website and how well you keep their brains trained on moving through, whether you are trying to convert someone on an e-commerce site, or whether you are just trying to let people get their work done.

So as broadband penetration increases, you'd think people would be okay with faster speeds, but No - the demand for speed continues... that's on mobile as well.  

Let's look at some of the stats here:  78% of users record that speed either makes them angry, or frustrated.  50% of users report that their concentration levels are compromised by slow moving websites; and 57% of users report abandonment after just 3 seconds of loading issues on websites.

So speed is a potential killer and it's something that stops users in their tracks cognitively - in terms of how they're processing information and the tasks on your website.

The bottom line then is, how fast should your site be?  Well, one second is the time required for users to fluidly process things, in terms of the way their mind works - and it's the reason why Zappos CTO, a few years ago, said that their goal is to have one second download speeds on their websites.  

So, at one second download speeds, you're doing well.  If you're a couple seconds on desktop - eh, you're probably still ok, right - but anything over 10 seconds is going to cause that type of frustration and concentration to be an issue.

Now, on mobile... we have a pretty dire situation at the moment.  What I mean by that is that the fastest download speeds, a couple years ago were in the 3 second mark for mobile, about 3.4 seconds.

The fastest download speeds as of November 2012, just a few months ago, are 4.6 seconds is the fastest download speed.  It's actually getting worse on mobile, and as more sites become mobile friendly, there is a real issue here with fast responsive speeds.  Not everybody's on the super broadband, the 4LTE type networks. So still a huge issue.  

For mobile then, bottom line, how fast should your site be?  If you can get it down to the 3 point second mark, you're doing fantastic - you're going to win an award or be noticed as a fast site.  Those fast sites that are on the 4 point are sites like:  Staples is actually the fastest mobile site right now.  Amazon follows that and Google shortly after that.  You have sites like United Airlines website is something in the 5 to 6 second mark, which is way, way higher than you want to go.  So keep it really low - down to the 3 to 4 second range, and those 10th of a milliseconds are really important.  On desktop:  one second, maybe 2 seconds, but really fast download speeds are where it's at for users.

Gotta keep it speedy.

I'm Frank Spillers, we'll see you next time on a future UX Power Up.  Thanks for watching!