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Subject: RE: UKNM: You have 8 seconds
From: Robin Edwards
Date: Tue, 13 Jul 1999 21:05:55 +0100

On Friday, July 09, 1999 3:14 PM, Clay Shirky [SMTP:clayatshirky [dot] com] wrote:
> "e-Tailers beware: one third of online shoppers waiting for web pages
> to down-load will "bailout" after only eight seconds. This could cost
> web merchants as much as $4.35 billion in lost e-commerce sales this
> year, according to a newly released study by Zona Research."

This sort of seems to make sense, although 8 seconds seems staggeringly short -
particularly for a 14.4k modem user as suggested in the article. That
represents about 14k of data - not a lot really, in fact about the size of an
animated banner advert, that so many retailers like to plaster on their own web
sites ("click here for our stuff").

As an example, the home page at http://www.amazon.co.uk currently totals just
over 62k (so about 35 seconds for our 14.4k friends) and most people seem to
agree that Amazon know what they're doing.

The big question is, can all elements of effectiveness and trustworthiness be
communicated in 14k of data, or do you run the risk of losing sales as a result
of trying to squeeze everything into 14k? If you lose a third because your page
is too big, but triple your conversion rate because your site is more
effectively designed, you are better off (although that 1/3 may never return,
even when they upgrade to faster modems). Either way, this study does highlight
the need to think about reducing page download times, which is something that
many have glossed over a bit since they upgraded to leased lines and ISDN.

Does anyone remember using the web back in '93 with a 9600 baud modem? You had
to wait for the whole page to download before you saw any content at all. In
those days you begged for a page to be text only!

Robin Edwards
Clockworx Design Limited
T: +44 1543 252370 F: +44 1543 420761
E: robinatclockworx [dot] co [dot] uk W: http://www.clockworx.co.uk/
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  Re: UKNM: You have 8 seconds, Steve Mynott

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