So while Jared and co are telling us that if the user experience is good, download times aren't so critical, Jakob Nielsen counters with the impact of slow page load times on our attention and ability to focus.
I don't think Jared and Jakob are necesarily contradicting each other here. They both agree slow is bad. It's just that Jared is talking about the user's perception of download speed, while Jakob covers the reality of page load time.
Short-Term Memory and Web Usability - The human brain is not optimized for the abstract thinking and data memorization that websites often demand. Many usability guidelines are dictated by cognitive limitations.
Website Response Times - Slow page rendering today is typically caused by server delays or overly fancy page widgets, not by big images. Users still hate slow sites and don't hesitate telling us.
Response Times: The 3 Important Limits (excerpt from Usability Engineering 1993 - Jakob Nielsen)
- 0.1 seconds gives the feeling of instantaneous response
- 1 second keeps the user's flow of thought seamless.
- 10 seconds keeps the user's attention.
- After 10 seconds, they start thinking about other things, making it harder to get their brains back on track once the computer finally does respond.
Follow upA funny coincidence - just week or so after writing this.