Why can the Response Time of your application be crucial for your business?

What is the response time?

Applications, software, and websites receive requests from users, and the time it takes to respond to their interactions can have a dramatic impact on application efficiency and user satisfaction. Response time is the time interval that begins when a user clicks a button on a web page and lasts until the server returns the complete data.

There are numerous reasons why an application may be slow to respond to the requests, such as high website traffic - too many concurrent requests, memory and compute resource leaks, slow database queries, limited network bandwidth, or even poor application logic.

It is essential to know and monitor the factors that cause the limited performance of your application. This is the first and most crucial step to reducing response times and improving overall performance.


Why is it so important?

If response time is essential when dealing with in-house software that ensures the productivity of work processes, then it becomes a really crucial factor in e-commerce applications. Slow web page response time can discourage visitors from accessing the site and switching to a competitor's site. This immediately deprives the company of a potential customer and makes the site less competitive. When users leave it, the bounce rate of the page increases, which negatively affects search engine rankings.

Customer satisfaction surveys have consistently shown a positive correlation between faster response times and higher customer satisfaction. According to Forrester Research, 77% of customers believe that the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good service is to value their time.


What is considered to be a good response time?

According to Jakob Nielsen - web usability researcher and consultant, there are three main time limitations which are determined by the abilities of human perception that should be kept in mind when optimizing the performance of websites and applications.

0.1 second: gives a feeling of immediate response - which provides the impression that the user controls the outcome-receiving process, not the computer. In his article "Need for speed", Dr Nielsen mentions that research on a wide variety of hypertext systems has shown that users need response times of less than one second when moving from one page. 

1.0 second: the user's flow of thought is not interrupted, although the delay is already noticeable. So the users know that the computer is generating a result, but they still feel that they are in control of the overall experience and are moving freely rather than waiting for the computer to do so. This level of responsiveness is essential for good navigation.

10 seconds: from 1 to 10 seconds, users feel dependent on the computer and would like it to run faster. After 10 seconds, they start focusing on other things, which makes it challenging to get their attention back in the right direction when the computer finally responds.

A 10-second delay often forces users to leave the site immediately. And even if they stay, the possibility of successfully completing the user's tasks is significantly reduced.


Digital giants experiments

This means a response time of more than 1 second is problematic and needs improvement. The higher the response time, the more likely users will leave your website or application. 

Experiments by major digital giants confirm that even small changes in response time can cause serious consequences.

Google found that switching from loading a page with 10 results in 0.4 seconds to a page with 30 results loading in 0.9 seconds reduced traffic and advertising revenue by 20%. Reducing the homepage of Google Maps from 100KB to 70-80KB resulted in a 10% increase in traffic in the first week and an additional 25%  in the following three weeks. 

Amazon Tests revealed similar results: every 100 ms increase in load time of Amazon.com decreased sales by 1%.

Microsoft Live Search experiments showed that when search results pages were slowed down by 1 second, the number of queries per user decreased by 1.0%, and the number of advertisement clicks per user decreased by 1.5%.

After a 2-second page slowdown: Requests per user decreased by 2.5%, and advertisement clicks per user decreased by 4.4%.


What Metrics are used while measuring Response Time?

Let's look at six of the most important metrics to watch and the value they provide.

Response Metrics

  • Average response time is the average time taken per every round-trip request. Average response time includes loading time for HTML, CSS, XML, images, JavaScript files, etc. Therefore, the presence of slow components in the system affects the average response time.
  • Peak Response response time helps to find potentially problematic components. This helps us to find any issues with the website or the system when a particular request is not handled correctly. 
  • The Error rate is a mathematical calculation that shows the percentage of problem requests compared to all requests. This percentage considers all HTTP status codes displaying an error on the server. It also calculates time-out requests.

Volume Metrics

  • Concurrent users measure how many virtual users are active at any given time. Although this is similar to the number of requests per second, the difference is that each concurrent user can generate a large number of requests.
  • Requests per second measures the number of requests that are sent to the server every second, including requests for HTML pages, CSS style sheets, XML documents, JavaScript files, images, and other resources.
  • Throughput measures the amount of bandwidth in kilobytes per second consumed during a test. Low throughput may indicate the need to compress resources.


Response time - one of the crucial business-factors

Users don't want to know the reasons behind the delays. They just realize they're getting poor service and are annoyed by it. Even a few seconds of delay is enough to create an unsatisfactory experience for the user. So, with repeated short delays, users will abandon the task and look for an opportunity to do it elsewhere. You can lose part of the sales simply because your site or application is too slow.

Leverage the efficient and reliable solution development from Inmost team, ensuring application resilience even in case of sudden and significant high loads. Remember that when choosing between several software applications, assuming that they are all equally reliable, users will always choose the fastest one.