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Quality vs Speed: Which Do Your Customers Want More?

How much time does it take for you to get a little frustrated when a website lags and is slow to load? In today’s day and age, probably just a few seconds.

And how quickly do you make a snap judgement of the quality of the website once you’ve arrived there? Again - probably a couple of seconds.

No web project is ever fully finished - websites get updated, algorithms evolve and user expectations only grow. With (presumably) finite time and resources, what do you prioritise when building your website - loading speed, or the quality of the website?

We asked Sonder's two Rob’s for their two cents on the subject:

Rob Swan (senior developer)

Both very important. It’s worth noting that the average attention span has reduced from 12 seconds in the year 2000 to 8.25 seconds (or less) now… which means we now have a shorter attention span than goldfish (9 seconds). 

It’s all about attention span - if sites are too slow, we lose people. If text is badly written, we lose people. The important thing isn’t really speed OR content, it’s not losing people.

To that end, the balance of which is more important depends on the critical point at which the site stops serving its required purpose, and that fine balance will vary depending on the site in question.

Rob Fellingham (senior marketing manager)

I would go with content, as a blazingly fast website with poor content or design isn’t going to get any results. A fantastic website that clearly gets across its value to the customer will still get results, albeit they’ll be losing a percentage of people as they won’t ever reach them.

In saying that though, it’s about looking at user experience as a whole. It’s why the technical department of an organisation shouldn’t be separate from the creatives – the two need to work in unison to make for good UX. 

The same argument applies for SEO - you can tick every box under Google’s guidelines, but you’re not going to get any results if your actual copy and design isn’t clearly showing a customer why they should go with you. 

Vice versa, wonderful copy and design means nothing if the foundation of the website is coded poorly and technical SEO requirements aren’t met. Lovely looking sites don’t necessarily perform well!

In answer, fast loading websites capture customer interest and make that positive first impression, and quality websites convince them to convert. Slow loading websites will frustrate customers and cause them to abandon your site, and poorly written and shoddily built websites will repel them.

Don’t sacrifice quality to get it done quicker, but don’t spend forever doing little tweaks in pursuit of perfection.

Posted on August 6th 2019

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