Wanna say something? You have 4 seconds. Posted on November 8th, 2006 by

New research shows that four seconds is the acceptable threshold for loading times on retail websites. This comes in light of similar recent research which suggests that visitors judge the quality of a website in a mere 50 milliseconds.

So, if you want to say something on the web, you have no more than four seconds to make sure your content has loaded and only 50 milliseconds to make a good impression. The good news is that if you are using the Gustavus template, a lot of the hard work has been done for you.

The template is optimized and streamlined and offers other benefits. Furthermore, it is professionally designed and should take care of much of the good impression you want to make in the first 50 milliseconds. That means, for most pages at Gustavus there is a lot less for our content contributors to worry about.

Use Images Responsibly

One should responsibly use images that augment the page’s content or message so as not to unnecessarily bloat the page. Four seconds doesn’t give you much breather room.

Additionally, properly resize images and save them in the correct formats for the web. Generally, photos should be saved in jpeg format (.jpg) and graphics and logos should be saved in png or gif format.

Remember Your Visitors

Most importantly, keep your visitors in mind when creating content for the web.

  • Use headings to break up your content and help visitors find content fast
  • Write direct, short paragraphs
  • Use ordered and unordered lists wherever appropriate
  • Give your links good names—don’t ever use “click here”

If you follow these guidelines, you should have no problem making a good impression and communicating your message effectively.



  1. […] of user experience on the web is how fast the pages actually load. Research in 2006 showed that 4 seconds is the acceptable threshold for retail websites’ page load time. Even Google understands that: on April 9, 2010, Google announced that site speed would be used to […]

  2. […] studies show that people scan web pages in an F-shaped pattern. In 2006, the research showed that you have 4 seconds to communicate what you need to and I’m guessing that number has only gotten smaller. Therefore, it is very important to use […]