You hear the term ‘User Experience’ tossed around a lot when discussing web design and web development, and there’s a reason for that. The web is ingrained in our everyday lives. It is everywhere. There are almost literally endless options no matter what you’re looking for online. Because of this, people don’t want to, and don’t have to put up with crap.

According to Google Analytics Benchmarks, these are the average bounce rates for sites people use every day:

  • Content Websites: 40-60%
  • Lead Generation: 30-50%
  • Blogs: 70-98%
  • Retail Sites:  20-40%
  • Service Sites: 10-30%
  • Landing Pages: 70-90%

If your website’s bounce rate is higher than the average, then there is a good chance you are doing something wrong, and there is a really good chance that’s a direct result of a poor user experience.

These stats are 6 years old, which is like a million years in internet time, but, as of 2009, Akamai released a study that found 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less. Some other points of interest from that study:

  • 40% will abandon a web page if it takes more than three seconds to load
  • 52% of online shoppers claim that quick page loads are important for their loyalty to a site
  • 14% will start shopping at a different site if page loads are slow, 23% will stop shopping or even walk away from their computer
  • 64% of shoppers who are dissatisfied with their site visit will go somewhere else to shop next time

One year after this study came out Gomez released another study as to why web performance matters. This study revealed that:

  • At peak traffic times, more than 75% of online consumers left for a competitor’s site rather than suffer delays
  • 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience
  • Almost half expressed a less positive perception of the company overall after a single bad experience
  • More than a third told others about their disappointing experience

Uh oh. Basically, it’s really bad news for you if people can’t find what they’re looking for.

Larger companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon have released some stats on how web performance affects their business:

  • Facebook pages that are 500ms slower result in a 3% drop-off in traffic, 1000ms is 6% drop-off
  • Google increased page load by +500 ms  and saw 25% fewer searches
  • Amazon found a 100ms delay resulted in 1% less sales. That would equate to  $890 million dollars lost in 2014.

As you can see, performance is a key player in user experience. It’s especially important now that mobile is becoming more dominant, and depending on location, mobile connections can be very slow to begin with.

When starting a project, set a performance budget. This will give you a tangible goal that you can work towards. There are a handful of tools available now to help you troubleshoot areas of your website that could be slowing things down, and help you achieve that goal. The team at OH! has been using a tool that was recently made available by Google.

Google Page Speed Insights, lets us quickly diagnose what’s slowing web page performance down letting our developers focus on speeding things up. The tool performs site tests and ranks your site with a score. The goal is 100%. (Which is exactly what we did with the OH! Media site.)

Here are a few other tools you can use to test performance:

  • WebPagetest is an open source project that is being developed and supported primarily by Google as part of their efforts to make the web faster
  • Pingdom Website Speed Test: Pingdom Website Speed Test was developed to help you analyze the load speed of your websites and learn how to make them faster. It lets you identify what about a web page is fast, slow, too big, what best practices you’re not following, and so on. They have tried to make it useful both to experts and novices alike.
  • GTmetrix: GTmetrix is a free tool that analyzes your page's speed performance. Using Page Speed and YSlow, GTmetrix generates scores for your pages and offers actionable recommendations on how to fix them.

Don’t become a statistic! For the sake of your business and adoring fans, test your performance using one of these handy tools. And, if you do find something that needs fixing, give us a shout. It’s what we love to do, and we’re happy to help!

Written By: Scott Whitehead