May 10, 2017

Web Application Speed: Why Performance Matters

We all know that speed is important when it comes to page load times for websites. But how exactly does speed affect users of web applications? Here is why performance matters when it comes to web application speed.

Web Application Performance Affects User Interest

When people use web applications, they want them to deliver fast and efficient performance. As a result, speed has become one of the top metrics that people use to assess the quality of a web application’s design.

Think about Google Drive, Slack, or any of the other web applications that you use for your day-to-day business activities. Do you ever expect a slow experience when you use these apps? Would you even consider continuing to use them if they weren’t fast?

Probably not, right?

If you’re still not convinced about the difference that a few seconds make, consider these statistics about web applications:

  • According to Kissmetrics, 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.
  • This same study also found that 40% of people abandon websites that take more than 3 seconds to load.
  • Walmart saw a 2 percent increase in conversion rates for every 1 second improvement in page load times.
  • For Amazon, a slowdown of just one second of page load time cost the company $1.6 billion in sales.

These statistics all demonstrate what you probably already know: users want their web applications to work fast and immediately and they won’t stick around if you can’t deliver.

The Appearance of a Fluid Experience

When it comes to web application speed, speed isn’t only important for conversions, it’s also important for giving the appearance of a fluid experience.

As a result, there’s also a psychological component that affects how users see your web application in terms of quality.

Google research suggests that web applications deliver page load times of less than 100 milliseconds, which is the how long the Occipital lobe, or “memory store,” of the brain stores information as a sensory memory.

By limiting page load times to less than 100 milliseconds, you can create the illusion that your web application delivers instantaneous responses to their actions.

If your web application doesn’t respond in under 100 milliseconds, the connection between action and reaction breaks and your users will notice the lag.

On the other end of the spectrum, if a page takes 10 seconds to load, users will grow frustrated and impatient, making it very difficult for them to retain focus on your web application. The result: your web application is deemed to be a low quality application regardless of the content that it offers.

That said, there are instances where it’s impossible to deliver a reaction from your web application within 100 milliseconds. In this instance, your web application should provide some sort of notice to the user that the action is in progress to retain their focus.

Slow Loading Web Applications Lead to “Web Stress”

A study done at Glasgow Caledonian University found that slowing down web pages during an online transaction resulted in increased agitation and poorer concentration in the study’s participants.

Brain wave analysis further revealed that participants in the study were forced to concentrate up to 50% harder with slow performing websites. Behavioral analysis and EOG technology also found that the subjects experienced greater agitation and stress.

Unfortunately, humans do not have any control over how their sensory memory responds. Slow loading web applications will cause your users to become stressed no matter how you explain away the slow loading times.

If you want the best results, it is your job to build your web application to work so that it caters to how users are hardwired to respond.

Humans Prefer Routines

In our day-to-day lives, we fall into routines. From waking up to drinking a cup of coffee and heading to work, every day is a series of flows that we don’t often deviate from unless we do so intentionally.

Just as an expected change in one’s day will likely cause stress, a web application that doesn’t respond as the user thinks it ought to leads to stress as well.

By delivering fast user experiences, you can allow your users to build routines around your web application’s activities, allowing them to fall into set patterns of use that will help make using your web application one of their normal routines.

Delivering a Faster Web Application Experience Is Science

If anything, these findings reveal that there are some fascinating statistics behind human psychological response and web application performance. If you think that web application speed is only about outdoing the competition when it comes to performance, these findings so just how important web application speed is for increasing user engagement.

If you’d like to learn more about how Achievion Solutions delivers maximum web application performance, contact us today and let’s take 30 minutes to chat about your project.


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