When I turn the wheel, I expect my car to turn. Similarly, when I go to a web site to make a purchase, pay a bill, book a ticket or send a text message, I just want it to work, hassle-free.
Not all sites are hassle-free.
A hassle could be a site that is difficult to understand or navigate, the process of completing the transaction could be overly complex and cumbersome, it may be that I can’t utilize the service because of the country I live in, or it could be that it takes too long and I give up. All of these hassles are valid and legitimate and neither one is more important than the other. If I can’t do what I want to do it’s bad. Full stop.
Ignoring application performance management and optimization when building and developing a new online service directly contributes to one of these hassles – taking too long. We have all heard the adage, “your competition is just a click away”, but all too often we forget that taking too long is one of the primary factors that leads to people going elsewhere.
After the marketing has driven a customer to your site and after they have marveled at how cool and fresh your site looks and how competitive your prices are, you will want them to make a commitment and complete a transaction (hopefully one that results in revenue or generates a lead). This is where taking too long truly comes into play.
When I look at a picture, an article, or an email message, I process what I am seeing at my own speed. When I evaluate a price or read a description of a product, again, I do it at my own speed. I set the pace at which I consume the information in front of me. We all do this and we all have our own internal speed limit. Some are faster than others. I need to do this at a pace that works for me. I am a fast reader and tend to process information very quickly (I skim sites looking for key words and images). I decide very quickly what my next move is when I see a web page load. I need to move at this pace, it’s just the way I operate. If my throttle is held back due to factors out of my control it frustrates me to no end. It’s somewhat like being in the passing lane on the highway and being prevented form moving at the speed I want by the person in front of me plodding along at exactly the posted speed limit. Completely legal but infuriating.
I want to be free to skim and click as quickly as I possible can. I don’t want any artificial speed limit holding me back. If a slow site gets in my way I will pass on the right and go somewhere else.
Online companies can spend huge sums of money getting the look and feel right, the do functional testing throughout the system development life cycle (SDLC), they scrum and iterate with abandon in order to make sure that users see and experience what they expect. All too often though, they end up putting a beautifully crafted and exquisitely engineered Supercar in the left lane doing 10K under the limit.
Many will hardly give a quick glance at it as we pass on the right.