A company can have the best product around, but if the pages are too sluggish, if the product suffers recurring outages, if the user-product interaction is varied and inconsistent, the product’s overall Usability can, and does, suffer.
Quick-UX provides for the rapid, simple and quantifiable assessment of a product’s User Experience (UX). Among the various components that define a product’s Usability, as well as Quick-UX‘s, are Accessibility, Consistency, Recognition, Navigation, and Page Load Time.
In answering the question of Usability, "Can I use it?" the sub-category of Page Load plays an instrumental role. Page Load, often obfuscated or connected with other perceived causes of a product’s dissatisfaction, ultimately, either positively or negatively, presents an unquestionable influence on a product’s overall Usability.
Example: Prompt Load Time (value = 1.0)
When I recently twittered my followers asking for their opinion of a web product that best exemplified a Prompt Load Time, some of the most common responses were…
But, the product that received the most votes was Facebook.
Amazingly, as recently as January 2008, Facebook was seen as one of the slowest, most inaccessible social networking products.
Now, Facebook, is one of the promptest, fastest web products, with 350 million active users, 50% of which log on every day, with the average user spending 55 minutes interacting with the product.
Whatever part of the product with which the user chooses to interact, the end result is always and consistently the same… quick reaction and responsiveness – from visiting and interacting with one’s Inbox…
… to participating in conversations in the News Feed.
With all the positive efforts being taken, some ‘flourishes’ of the user interface continue to inject a sluggishness into an overall snappy Page Load Time and user experience that would best be redesigned or redeveloped inline with the rest of the product’s established Page Load Time expectations. An example of such an interface event, with sluggishness caused by either the method of display, and/or of content retrieval, is the user action of adding a friend.
If a recent interview with an anonymous Facebook employee is accurate, Facebook can be viewed as being very much on the right track to further improvement of their already Prompt Load Time.
On the continued optimization of downloaded file size and its client-side performance…
"…actually found out it increased the number of page views by 77%, essentially because we were reducing 77% of the page load, and therefore it was loading faster, and thus generating more clicks. We not only reduced our bandwidth, and how much we have to pay for our Internet, but we made the site faster and increased the clicks-per-minute, which is what we’re truly interested in."
On the optimization of server responsiveness…
"…this guy right now is single-handedly rewriting, essentially, the entire site. Our site is coded, I’d say, 90% in PHP. All the front end — everything you see — is generated via a language called PHP. He is creating HPHP, Hyper-PHP, which means he’s literally rewriting the entire language.
"We’re going to reduce our CPU usage on our servers by 80%, so practically, users will just see this as a faster site. Pages will load in one fifth of the time that they used to."
Over the course of this series we explored many real-world examples of Page Load Time values…
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The Product Guy
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