We live in an era with abundant information and limited time. Nowadays the question is not how to get the information, but how to filter it. Every day we are bombarded with information, but at the end of the day, we all just want to spend our time on the things that are actually important to us. For example, finding the best, most suitable products is made possible with clovio’s Best Reviews website, where well-researched articles and reviews help us to select the products or services offering the most value.
People like to use their time efficiently, which means spending more time on enjoying interesting, fun things and less time on figuring out how to get to them. Because of this flood of online and offline information, people’s attention spans have significantly decreased. Many companies are realizing this, which can be seen through services such as the now-defunct Vine video streaming platform based on six-second videos, or Twitter where thoughts are shared with only a limited amount of characters.
Google, the biggest player in the search engine market, made making the internet faster one of its primary goals. According to Forbes, Google’s search engine is used more than 3.5 billion times per day and the user bounce rate is over 40% for websites that don’t load within three seconds. Google emphasizes the importance it gives to this by ranking sites with a better loading performance higher and punishing the slow performers.
Factors Behind Performance
Performance is partially dependent on the network infrastructure, meaning how fast the servers are where the data resides and how efficiently these servers transport this data to the users. It also largely depends on how well optimized websites are, especially when it comes to many of the websites we visit that offer interactivity, large images, registration forms, or games. A number of underlying web technologies that send data from the servers to the user’s browsers on their mobile or desktop devices are needed to offer these services. This means hundreds or thousands of lines of code travelling between the user’s device and a server, which also needs to be processed by hidden interpretation engines.
A website owner can’t control where or how a user accesses the internet. It could be someone using a mobile device on a beach in Portugal, somebody using a Mac in an office in Romania, or a person using an old PC in some hidden, remote village. What we can control (for the most part) is the content we create and how efficient the code that’s delivering it is. More efficient code means faster loading times for everybody. Making sure we share optimized images, avoid sending unnecessary data, and that our information is well organized could significantly decrease loading times. This is what website performance optimization is all about.
The Two Kinds of Performance: Absolute and Perceived
But it’s not that simple. There are two kinds of loading times: perceived loading time and absolute loading time. For example, a website may start displaying a page title quickly after we hit enter, then some colorful banners after a few milliseconds, then more text and images a few seconds later. In this case, people feel gradual progress is happening and the waiting time is less bothersome.
This principal doesn’t just apply to the online world, it’s also a major driver in business too, as seen in Burger King’s business processes. It has a technique for breaking up the process of queuing called waiting line segmentation. Instead of standing in just one line, people are transferred to a second line to wait for their order after they pay, which reduces the perception of wait time and increases the sense of progress.
What’s better: a website appearing all at once after a two-second waiting period with a blank screen, or a four-second wait time with gradually appearing colors, text, and imagery? It is hard to say and there are many things to take into consideration when optimizing website performance. But here at clovio, we are constantly working to improve performance and user experience across different metrics, and have already improved the total loading time for our Feeling Lucky website by using techniques such as caching, code refactoring, reducing clutter, code minification, image optimization, and the use of content delivery networks.
We continuously monitor these improvements with tools such as WebPageTest, GTmetrix, and PageSpeed Insights. Thanks to the improvements mentioned above, our readers are able to access the content prepared by our team of experts more quickly and efficiently.