Performance analytics company Soasta surveyed, in partnership with The Harris Poll, 2,044 web users in the US to gauge the extent to which user experience would be affected by website performance. They found that website performance is key to a positive user experience and that ease of navigation, speed and reliability are the most important attributes of website performance.
Surprisingly, only 20% of the survey participants said they would stop using poorly performing social networking sites. While nearly 1 in 3 web users agreed that companies should be focusing on performance across devices, nearly half said the priority should still be on personal computers. Smartphones were a close runner-up. Another poll, conducted in July of this year by Limelight Networks, confirmed that a high-performing website is the most important expectation for a great user experience. More half (52%) of the survey participants indicated that optimum website performance is critical for a great user experience.
When asked what aspects of website performance are most crucial for a positive user experience, the large majority of survey participants agreed that ease of navigation (79%) was the top consideration, especially among senior men (89%) and women (91%).
Nearly three-fourth (73%) of survey participants cited website speed as the most important website performance attribute, according to Soasta. But web users seem to have developed a greater tolerance for slow loading sites, according to the Limelight Networks survey. In 2014, 41% of users reported that they would wait longer than 5 seconds for a website to load. In 2015 this tolerance level had risen to 52%. Although the patience with slow loading websites may have increased, approximately 4 out of 10 would still leave a page to buy a product from a competitor if they have to wait too long for the page to load, according the Limelight Networks. The latter highlights the importance of maintaining a high-performing website.
Mobile Page Speed
The need to boost user experience on mobile devices via website and app performance improvements has not gone unnoticed among major technology companies. Earlier this year Apple, Facebook and Google launched initiatives to deliver faster loading mobile web pages to improve the mobile web user experience. In May Facebook introduced, in partnership with a number of prominent publishers, Instant Articles. Apple with the Apple News app and Google, with Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), have introduced competing systems that offer some of the same benefits. Unfortunately these initiatives are primarily targeted to publishers and news article distribution and have currently little value for retail, ecommerce and other non-publishing related applications.
Reliability and responsiveness are also top website performance attributes, according to the Soasta survey. 68% of survey participants said reliability was a high priority, and 62% said it was important that sites don’t crash.