Designing for Quicker Interactions on Web
People are impatient. What more in a generation where attention span is short. According to a study done by Microsoft, people lose concentration in 8 seconds, even shorter than a goldfish! Imagine someone on your website sitting for longer than 8 seconds to load a specific page or to navigate to scan the contents. It is not a pretty experience.
Visitors go to a website for many different reasons, but one thing is for sure, they are always in a hurry to accomplish their tasks that led them to your website. When you help in achieving their goals, then you have met your objectives as well. It is in your best interest to ensure that visitors’ experience in your website is satisfying as ever. Of course, there is always the design factor. It is after all, their first encounter with your brand.
According to Elementary in their Human Interface Guidelines, one of the features of a notable UX design is that a user must be able to accomplish what he sets out to do on your site. But directly after this feature is the speed by which a user can accomplish tasks on your site. In fact, speed is your way of creating a first impression with your visitors. By optimizing your load speed, you are gaining an opportunity to show off your site’s design. So, it’s really a case of “first things first”. You can only showcase your site’s design if they can load your site in a time that is fast enough to retain their attention.
This is a perfect example of how back end and front end seamlessly work together. While the front end wows your users, the backend works tirelessly for the front end to do what it needs to do.
Behind the Scenes
Behind an impressive design is a set of back end functions that work together to enable the design features for the users.
A portfolio template is very simple with images on display that is meant to showcase work. On a lousy web hosting package, the images will load slowly or not load at all. Other than scripting, your hosting choice will make an enormous difference in enabling loading of images seamlessly.
Choosing a web hosting involves some careful consideration. As a rule of thumb, more resources would mean you have power and memory to execute queries quickly. Faster hard drives such as SSD results in a faster performance as well. In other instances, code optimizing solves a specific problem, but stronger hardware will usually result in speed improvements across the board.
It doesn’t have to be a huge investment, by the way. Competition in the web hosting scene has made hosting packages quite affordable. For instance, a 5GB, unlimited traffic/data web hosting package can run as cheap as $3.33 a month.
When Google decided to use site speed as a ranking factor, we think it was an appropriate and much-needed factor in rankings. The move has only further stressed the importance of prioritising—that of users first then search engines. While some interpret this as a search engine move, it actually sought to put users’ experience on top of what search engines need to rank a website. After all, a website is on the internet for people to use, not search engines. So, while the algorithm might point to technical configurations needed to meet it, it seeks to point to webmasters to make improvements based on their users’ needs to become relevant.
In any case, your front end must have a strong support on its back end to create an overall outstanding experience with your users. Don’t fall short on your back end just because your design meets all the standards of an excellent UX design.