It Adds Up: Minimizing Delays In Popular Systems

Google gets somewhere in the region of 2 billion hits per day. It is essential that the Google page loads quickly. How much would it cost if the Google web page took an additional 0.1 seconds to load? 0.1*2,000,000,000=200,000,000 seconds would be wasted waiting for it to load. If we assume the average worker is paid $10/hour, that’s 200,000,000/60/60*10 = $555,555.56 wasted per day as a result of that 0.1 second loading time. So per year it would be costing the economy $147,222,222.22.

Most people overlook small differences in loading time, but it’s key. I’m disappointed to see that most OS manufacturers don’t optimize boot up speed. OS makers seem to care more about how many new features the new OS is going to have rather than shaving seconds off boot time and loading times which is far more important. Microsoft has spent massive amounts of resources on the Metro interface. It will take massive amounts of time per user to learn how to use it effectively. Not only that but each time the OS boots loading that huge interface will take more time. It’s a terrible decision.

UI designers are often unaware of how much time their poor decisions could potentially waste. Adding a single dialog box “Are you sure you want to do this? Yes. No.” when applied to millions of users has a huge cost as a result of wasting the users time. One might be tempted to say “But no ones going to notice that 0.5 seconds of their time was wasted” I would have to direct you to my blog post explaining that the just-noticeable difference does not exist.

It’s  time for UI design to become more quantitative instead of qualitative. Lots of tests should be done and the test subjects should be asked to do various tasks and this will be timed. If it takes longer on average then the new UI should not be added. I doubt Microsoft has even attempted to even do this kind of analysis. There’s no way they would add the abomination known as metro had they known just how bad it is. I haven’t used it myself but I trust that all the reviews I have read are correct to say that it is terrible.


One thought on “It Adds Up: Minimizing Delays In Popular Systems

  1. Great first blog Jane. When you took the job, was it in answer to an advert wanting “lid lifter for cess pits and sewage syss2mt&#8e21;? or perhaps they packaged it in a more tempting fashion !Funding is always the biggest hurdle with renewables, but fortunately there are several ways that particular cat can be skinned.Keep up the good work.

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