Thursday, September 6, 2012

Speed of failure

In a less than scientific study, I took people to a page that showed a loading symbol for between 0.5 seconds and 4 seconds that ended in the message, "The connection to the server was interrupted. Please try again."  On average, people who only had to wait 0.5 seconds each time, clicked the 'try again' button more than 2 times (2.4).  For those that had to wait 3 or more seconds, the average fell to only 28% of the visitors tried again even once.

Of course, a person's persistence is determined by their desire for the end result and their trust of the source.  This experiment only demonstrates that if your site is slow and visitors have to wait to fail, (No search results found.  Please enter a valid email address.  Oops, an error has occurred.), they're probably not going to try again.

How do you make sure your visitors don't have to wait to fail?