Those Impatient Web Surfers

In his online column, Dr. Jakob Nielsen, links to a study by Professor Ramesh Sitaraman who analyzed 23 million cases of users trying to watch online videos and calculated the bounce rate depending on the delay in having the video start playing.

If you thought that your students were impatient, then look at this general population where the study found that 6% more users abandon the video for every 1 second extra delay.

Yes, a one second delay means another chunk of your audience is gone. A five second delay means you lost 30% of your potential viewers.

Nielsen says that "The new data obviously confirms old usability findings about the importance of fast response time on the web. A few years some user interface commentators questioned the notion of fast response as a design priority, but I don't think anybody truly believe these detractors anymore. Furthermore, the study's plots of the decay function clearly demonstrate that there is no one cut-off value that shows "how long users will wait" (as we're often asked about). I have long said that user behavior cannot be captured by a single number. Rather, the more usable something is, the more use it will gain, but even designs with low usability (e.g., slow response) will get some use."


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