Load Speed: Does it Matter?

There are so many website design possibilities that it’s natural to get excited about the incredible user experiences that can be created by utilising a wide range of techniques. However, while a website with bells and whistles may sound good in theory, any good web design company will usually advise against going all out. Why? Because speed is one of the most overlooked aspects of the customer experience.

Today’s website visitors expect a page to load in 2 seconds — or even less! Furthermore, 79% of visitors won’t return to a website in the future if they’ve experienced some sort of performance issue, such as slow load times. This highlights just how important it is to really consider speed in website design.

Responsive Web Design

While speed is an important consideration in terms of all types of website design, it is perhaps slightly more of an urgent focus in responsive web design. Google reports that responsive web design is actually getting better, and in just 12 months the average load time of a mobile webpage dropped by 7 seconds. At 15 seconds, however, this still isn’t good enough, with mobile visitors leaving a page after just 3. Background textures, sliders, large images, and videos are amongst some of the worst offenders.

Tips for Boosting Load Speed

Speed should always be discussed with your web design agency during the early stages of web design, rather than being an afterthought. This allows your web design company to take appropriate measures to ensure that your load speed is optimal, and helps you to work to facilitate a positive user experience.

Here are just a few tips for boosting your website’s load speed through tactical website design:

  • Resize any images you choose to use. After all, why upload a massive 6000 pixel image to your website if that image is only going to be displayed at 500 pixels anyway? It doesn’t make sense.
  • Consider image format. Arguably the best image format is JPG, which compresses the image. Try to avoid BMP and PNG uploads as these are typically larger and will take more time to load.
  • Try to find the right balance between aesthetics and user experience. While it is important to use engaging content to attract attention, be wary of adding too many assets onto a single page.
  • Perform maintenance and fix any broken links in your website content. Clicking links increases HTTP requests, slowing down your site. Broken links are essentially ‘wasting’ available speed.

The BBC suggests that just a 0.5 second reduction in load speed can boost sales by 10%, showing just how important it is to design a website that loads quickly, regardless of the device being used.