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The average load time for a responsive, e-retail site is 18.24 seconds, Internet Retailer found last month. (They examined 12 sites from the US and UK over a month-long period, using a variety of connections.)

But just how long is 18.24 seconds? In that time —

  • The average person will blink 3 – 4 times.
  • A hummingbird will flap its wing 1,276 times.
  • 76 people are born.
  • 32 people die.
  • 2 – 3 people get bitten by a dog.
  • 19 airplanes will take off.
  • 8 people will lock their keys in their car.
  • 24 people will get married.
  • 3 Americans will buy a house.
  • This guy can clap 255 times.
  • Light will travel 5,396,264,244 miles. That’s about the same as traveling to the sun and back 27 times.
  • Usain Bolt can (almost) run 200 meters. (The Jamaican sprinter ran it in 19.19 seconds in 2009.)

 

Average loading time for 12 sites surveyed:

  • PC: 3.15 seconds (WiFi)
  • Tablet: 2.80 seconds (WiFi)
  • Smartphone: 18.24 seconds (3G / 4G connections)

 

Does it matter?

Mobile device users are an impatient bunch. If a webpage does not load quickly, they bounce… and try another site. In fact, 79% of smartphone users will avoid shopping at sites they consider slow. And 61% will quickly move on to another site if they do not find what they were looking for immediately on a mobile site.

Slow sites scare away potential customers.

18.24 seconds is way longer than the average mobile device user is willing to wait. And that’s for a responsive site — at minimum, a relatively new site designed specifically to work on a smartphone.

 

Is there a solution?

1. Design based on what you need.

Not surprisingly, your website design strategy shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all “solution.” Whether or not you choose responsive design (or just a new, mobile site) all depends on what you need. What are your site’s visitors looking for when they come to the site? What is the right balance of site performance and user experience?

2. Break responsive HTML pages into small fragments, displaying portions of the page only when needed.

3. Make the site’s images responsive.

Images take up a lot of space. They’re heavy, which means that it takes a long time to load them on a smartphone. Making the images responsive cuts loading time, but you may have to alter the images in order to make them fit. For example, an 800 x 200 pixel image of a cabin in the woods may need to be edited in order to fit to a 60 x 60 pixel image.

4. Where possible, avoid using JavaScript.

At GHI Internet Services, our team of mobile design experts have designed our fair share of mobile sites — pure responsive sites, pure mobile sites, and everything in between.

We’d love to share with you what we’ve found in our 15+ years on the web: more tips on mobile website design.

 

Written by: Daniel Griffith on August 4, 2014

Daniel is an Author, Designer, and Entrepreneur. With over 10 years of industry experience, Daniel utilizes his unique blend of mathematics and poetry, engineering and creative thinking to solve both technical and business challenges.

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