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Tablets Users Dissappointed in Website Load Times

According to a survey, 70 percent of tablet users expect websites to load as fast, if not faster, than their home computers

Tablet owners are disappointed in the Web surfing aspects of their devices because sites aren’t opening as fast as they expect them to, according to a study from Compuware APM, a Web optimization company.

The study, conducted by Equation Research and commissioned by Compuware APM, is based on interviews with 2,033 people from Jan. 5 to 16. It focused on people who owned a tablet and had used it to surf the Internet over the past six months. Compuware ARM says the results of the survey, which was conducted worldwide, can safely be projected onto the rest of the world with 95 percent accuracy.

The 15-page report is a great read, as there are quite a few interesting tidbits, including that:

  • 41 percent of tablet users have experienced slow load times and crashes, poor page formatting, and other issues.
  • 70 percent of tablet users expect websites to load as fast, if not faster, than on their home computers
  • 34 percent of tablet users actually had a 404 error while trying to access a website on their device

The study has a lot of statistics but two big trends prevail: Companies are still in shock over how quickly tablets caught on, and users already expect tablets to give them at least the same performance as their home computers.

Users want websites up in two seconds (or less)

According to the survey, more than two-thirds of users expect websites to load in two seconds or less. Two seconds is less time than it probably took to read the previous sentence. Lorenz Jacober, the product marketing manager for Compuware APM, admits that his company was taken aback by the results.

“We previously did a similar survey for smartphone users and about 60 percent expected a website to load within five seconds, which is pretty fair. In this tablet survey, about 70 percent expected a website to load within two seconds, putting the expectations right up there with PC and laptop speed. Pretty high expectations,” Jacober says.

Jacober cited two reasons for this trend. First, unlike a smartphone, a tablet experience is much closer to the home or laptop computer experience. The larger screen is obviously part of it, but we’re also seeing the line between mobile and home computing blurring. Think of the upcoming Mac OS Mountain Lion and its extensive use of mobile iOS conventions. The more mobile and home computing looks alike, the more people will expect similar browsing speeds, Jacober says.

The second reason is that the cutting-edge tech companies give Web experiences head and tails above the rest. “What users get from Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other trailblazers are fast and smooth Web experiences. It doesn’t matter if they are on a PC, Mac, or mobile,” he says. In other words, those companies that have made fast Web browsing a priority across all platforms are making the remaining companies look very slow.

Based on the current trends, it’s hard not to believe that we’ll expect a virtually instantaneous Internet on our phones and tablets by 2013.

Companies playing catch-up with tablets

Among other services, Compuware APM (short for application performance management) helps companies get their websites in order for the best customer experience. Jacober says many companies just weren’t expecting tablet computing to take off so quickly.

“A small number of companies like Google or eBay have optimized their websites for consumers, but a lot of the companies we talk to, like retail or financial institutions, are in holding patterns. They just started dealing with mobile phones, and now there are tablets. They aren’t sure if they have the resources to take advantage of it,” Jacober says.

The problems for the tablet consumer came out in the survey, whether it be a poorly formatted page or simply an inoperable website. It’s obvious that consumers aren’t happy.

Jacober expects that HTML5, as it becomes more robust, will allow websites to look complementary on both home and tablet computers. He also expects standalone apps to still be a big part of the equation. “At this point, the wise choice is to have a native app and an optimized website.”


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