News flash! Web users have no patience

August 27, 2008

I found this story on BBC News online a few months ago: web users are becoming more “ruthless”, according to a study of web habits. 

The point is that more and more people are going to the Internet for a specific task, not to linger or be entertained. The story says that many users are annoyed by the extras that many sites have added, such as applications and widgets (I would add gratuitous Flash videos to that mix), that just add weight to the page and make it slower to load.

(As an aside, remember the early web pages with grey backgrounds, default text colours and only the odd, very compressed picture? Think of how quickly those would load on our faster computers with faster bandwidth. Does it really make sense to take advantage of almost everyone being on high-speed by adding so much weight that page load times are slower?)

The lesson? Don’t let “fun” design extras get in the way of helping your users find what they want, quickly.

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