250ms is enough wait to send web users packing

I can remember back when I first got online and dial up was all we could get. It would take minutes to download a single webpage if it had several photographs. Today, even slow broadband will open a page packed with photos in a second or two, but even that isn't fast enough for most web users. According to a Google engineer working on making things faster, a scant 250 ms slower than a competitor is enough to send users away.

Google also notes that a search delay of only 400ms is enough to cause users to search less, roughly the blink of an eye. This is pushing fierce competition among large websites and search engines to be the fastest. Pages laden with interactive content such as video also need to be very fast, 4 out of 5 users leave a page if the video stalls while loading.

It seems mobile web surfers are willing to wait longer, Google reports that the average webpage loads in about 9 seconds on mobile devices compared to about 6 seconds globally on computers. In the US, we need about 3.5 seconds on average to open a webpage. It's clear that there is a big opportunity to win more users on the mobile web by offering faster sites.

"Subconsciously, you don't like to wait," said Arvind Jain, a Google engineer who is the company's resident speed maestro. "Every millisecond matters."

[via Economic Times]