I get this question from our customers most of the time, on what should be the ideal time for a WebPage to load that consumers will be bear with and will not switch to an other site. It is not an easy question to answer, as each webpage (and its site) is different, offers varied functionalities, delivers wide range of contents and each sites objective is different. In my opinion only a Search Engine (like Google) can have the simplest (smallest) homepage as it just needs to have one TextBox and still do something useful. For all other sites it is a careful orchestration (and comprimises) between features exposed, richness, content & speed.
On this same topic I read in Business Line an interview “Trends in the making” with Chris Schoettle (EVP, Akamai Technologies) and he sa:
“End users today expect a page to load faster. Average user satisfaction for a page to download is now four seconds. If it takes longer than that, they will typically go to another site. People do not have the patience to wait for pages to load. A couple of years ago, it was seven seconds. And soon, it will be no more than three seconds“
At Vishwak, few months back we collected data on time taken for page load of Google and Yahoo! for academic interest. We did this from various Indian metros both with Dial-up connections and from browsing centres (Broadband).
Disclaimer: This study was done purely for academic interest and we don’t guarantee accuracy nor we will be responsible for any consequences of usage of this data. Yahoo! and Google are trademarks of their respective companies.