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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

1 sec maximum for your Web site to make an impact

It does make me laugh when clients get hung-up on the exact phraseology of their web site copy but pretty much ignore the overall impact of the page design. In future I will tell to read this edition of Alertbox.

Jackob Nielsen reckons that people can make rough decisions about a Web page's visual appeal after being exposed to it for as little as 50 ms.

In his eyetracking studies, most of the fixations are for little more than 0.1 seconds.

Nielsen believes that when the computer takes more than 0.1 second but less than 1 second to respond to your input, it feels like the computer is causing the result to appear. Although users notice the short delay, they stay focused on their current train of thought during the one-second interval.

This means that during 1-second response times, users retain the feeling of being in control of the interaction even though they notice that it's a 2-way interaction (between them and the computer). By contrast, with 0.1 second response times, users simply feel like they're doing something themselves.

For Web usability, this means that new pages must display within 1 second for users to feel like they're navigating freely; any slower and they feel held back by the computer and don't click as readily.

I can see no reason why these observations don’t apply equally, if not more so, to the older Web user. Dick Stroud

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