Sunday, November 27, 2011

Today, speed is the user interface reference

A few days ago, a friend of mine complained about the lack of speed of his products’ user interfaces.
Like many of us, he chose to build his user interface using an abstraction software framework. One year later, his products’ web pages are too heavy and his customers complain.

It would have been nice not to live in a world where the top Internet giants focus continuously on speed. Without these companies, one second to return the result of a web page would be the norm and browsing would be a peaceful activity.
While today, web pages are displayed in less than the blink of an eye (0,2-0,3 second), many desktop applications still seem incredibly sluggish.

When you look at the data presented by Stoyan Stefanov at Velocity, you would understand 2-3 seconds to load a view is still acceptable, if the user is working only with your application.

But, today most users are browsing and searching while using applications at work.
If you listen to Marissa Mayer at Velocity, you will understand that in an experiment where the search results were delayed of 400 millisecond, visitor loyalty slightly dropped.

So in an environment where the reference search tools display results in less than 0.5 seconds, you should really consider it as the reference. The user experience is not only about the perception of speed in your application but also by comparison with others.

You can also consider Jakob Nielsen's 10 Usability Heuristics for Interface Design to think about good design pratices.

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