Web of today is much more ambitious, more powerful and much more complex. Speed is a feature that companies are increasingly connecting to the bottom line and user engagement.

Perceived Web Performance: Why Speed Matters?

Perceived web performance involves how we, as humans, experience, and respond to the performance of a system.


Simple user inputs must be acknowledged within less than 100 milliseconds. If you respond to the user in less than 200 milliseconds its feels nearly instant.

To keep the user engaged, the task must be completed within 1000 milliseconds. Post 1-second the mental contextual switch starts which means the users starts moving to other tasks and before you know you have lost track of the user.

After 10 seconds and more, the abandon rate goes up and the user tends to leave the site.

The research really outlines the need to avoid any kind of delay as much as possible. Ilya Grigorik, a web performance advocate at Google, calls it the 1000ms “time to glass” challenge. In order to fully satisfy your user’s expectation, you have around 1000ms for your content to travel from your server to the user’s glass (screen).

First Law of Service

Masiter’s First law of service formula is an outcome of several years of research. It provides a measurement on how waiting for a specific service affects customers’ perceptions of both the service provided and the actual product.

Maister’s formula states that Satisfaction = Perception – Expectation. In the context of web performance and serving content to site visitors, this formula raises the following questions:

  • What was actually served and presented to the visitor, and did the content satisfy the user’s goal?
  • What was perceived by the visitor?
  •  What did the visitor actually expect?

What leads to satisfaction?

Users are generally satisfied when their perception exceeds their expectations and are dissatisfied when the opposite occurs. If you expect that Google home page would load in less than 3 seconds and it takes more than 3-seconds then you are left dissatisfied.


Perception refers to how fast the users think your website is, rather than how fast it actually is. Speed as you already know is very subjective in nature. For example, millennials are used to multi-tasking would want websites to load faster while someone in older generation would be more patient enough to wait for the site to load.


It’s important to manage and care about expectations. ICICI Bank has done a fabulous job when it comes to managing expectations. If you have been to a branch of ICICI you are assigned token which shows you the expected waiting time, with rather a permissible estimate. The customer knows the expected waiting time hence is mentally prepared for it and a shorter waiting time than predicted could lead to a positive experience.

Web Performance: World Wide-Statistics


Why aren’t all websites fast?


Performance is not a checklist it’s a continuous process

Developers and marketers need to invest in tools and resources that will help them to identify performance bottlenecks and resolve them. Page speed from Google is a good place to start from if you are seeking answers. We have written about performance optimization earlier check Landing Page Optimization: Developers Perspective for more details.


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