A lot of people will talk about how important it is for your website to be fast, especially for websites that face your customers. But what about internal websites for your employees. Could a faster website boost productivity? Their productivity is a cost that you may want to optimize.
Now several studies have shown that even a few tenths of a second affect the user’s perspective on a website, and how likely they are to want to use it. But I’ve heard several owners say how they are not as concerned about employee perception, as they are required to use these sites.
Recently I was asked to look at a website that was performing slowly. It was taking about 30 to 35 seconds to load the user login page. However, other pages were not taking as long, even if they were more complex, so the organization was curious as to why this one page was performing poorly. With as slow as this site was, there was a fully conscious problem that the users were noticing. The project owner was starting to get complaints from both internal (employees) and external users (customers), because of the slowness of the site.
I started looking at possible reasons, and found a few minor things to tweak, but nothing had a big impact on the problem page. So I started looking at configurations and was able to get the page to load much faster. All of the pages should get some benefit, but the login page was now loading at 3 to 5 seconds, instead of 30+ seconds.
The entire time took about 45 minutes to diagnose and get working. But was the time worth it? Could the company recoup the costs?
Well the answer is not only yes, but it recouped the time cost very quickly. Obviously different solutions take different amounts of time, but here is how we determined the value of spending the time to work on this one page.
I took the time saved on each page, then I found out how many people visited the given page on a day. Turns out the site is accessed approximately 250 to 300 times a day. If the site is accessed 250 times in a day then on a given day it would save approximately 125 minutes (given a faster 30 seconds per visitor) of time, per day.
Given that it only took 45 minutes to perform the upgrade, and that is saved 125 minutes per day, the time was made back within the first half of a day. If you wanted a more accurate representation of the savings, you could measure the cost of the savings by looking at the cost to improve the website, and then look at how much the users of the system get paid.
If you can pay back the cost of the updating, in the amount of time saved by the users in their salary, then the upgrade is definitely worth the cost. However, you don’t want to forget other improvements. If it can make the users happier, or at least more content, then they will be less likely to make mistakes and more likely to improve their performance.