The Need For Speed

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In the race bike world, the more you pay the less you get. That’s by design. Bike manufacturers work tirelessly to develop ever lighter materials and shave weight from any remaining components still made of metal. It’s all in the effort to increase speed.

The drive to lighter, faster, stronger is time intensive and the cost is handed right on to the consumer (pro racing bikes cost upwards of $15,000!). It’s expensive, but shaving off milliseconds is often the difference between winning and losing which, for people who race bikes as a profession, is the difference between getting paid or not eating.

The same maniacal quest for speed should go into the apps, websites, and software we design. Every facet of our products should be built for speed: speed of a message being understood, speed of a business objective being achieved, speed of every download required to respond to an interaction. The best way to measure whether the work we’re producing is efficient is to ask ourselves a simple question: “Is it fast enough?”

I’m not the only one who cares about speed — 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less. And if that expectation isn’t met? 40% of people abandon a site if it takes longer than three seconds to load. Apply that same metric to getting a value proposition quickly communicated, or to helping someone complete an employee review online, and you get my drift.

Speed is a simple concept that anyone working in the digital product industry can understand, put to practice, and measure in their respective practices. Copywriters can shave words. UI designers can shave UI elements. Engineers can shave KB’s by compressing and distributing payloads. So, is your work fast enough? If the answer is anything short of “it’s the fastest,” you need to continue researching, drilling, and shaving down the material in your work. Our customers need speed. If we don’t give it to them, we lose the race.

Image courtesy of Boris Stefanik