We all know that a user is not going to wait forever for a website to load. Given there are certain factors and circumstances that can apply to this, is there a breakdown of users stages/breaking points that apply to length of time for when loading a website?

I believer there is the general rule of thumb for the amount of time a user will wait in a content stage, but I was curious to know if anybody could elaborate a little more in the phycology of loading times.

  • I have a strong feeling that this has been asked before because there're a few AlertBox articles about this (that's the source of the infographic).
    – dnbrv
    Commented Jun 27, 2012 at 16:06
  • 1
    Related: ux.stackexchange.com/questions/5529/… Commented Jul 1, 2012 at 8:47

1 Answer 1


There is a breakdown:

.1 seconds if you don't want a user to notice a delay, 1 second will give a noticeable delay, but will not affect users experience too much and no feedback will be needed, 10 seconds is the maximum amount of time a user wants to wait without a diaglog explaining what the server is doing and how long they should wait, longer than that and they will loose interest.

According to this article the reason behind it is related to short-term memory not exceeding 15 seconds, so slower than that the user begins to forget what they were doing.

Also, according to this article customer satisfaction decresses by 16% for every second they have to wait.

You can speed up a site by reducing image quality, removing flash, or make it more AJAX based.

Visual Break down: enter image description here

  • I think that's what chester was referring to in his question when he mentioned there is a general rule of thumb for waiting for content. This is the only applicable rule I've been able to find though.
    – GotDibbs
    Commented Jun 27, 2012 at 14:32
  • precisely, I am aware of the more abstract waiting time, I was unsure if there is more of a break down between that .1 seconds and 15 seconds. I know it is good practice that you should almost entirely not exceed 7 seconds. But there is value to finding those points that lead up to that. Around 3 seconds becomes the agitated state, etc..
    – Kyle Mirro
    Commented Jun 27, 2012 at 15:25
  • Please read the article and links from it to others and you will find lots of information on it. I updated it to included more things, but as a general rule every second results in 16% decrees in satisfaction. The .1 second rule is because it makes the user feel in control rather than the computer. Commented Jun 27, 2012 at 15:40

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