"Shoppers are likely to abandon a website if it takes longer than four seconds to load, a survey suggests.

It found 75% of the 1,058 people asked would not return to websites that took longer than four seconds to load." Akamai study as reported on the BBC.

It's a study of online shopping habits, but I wonder if the same holds for cultural sector sites. I guess that says something either about my knowledge of existing audience evaluation or the paucity of existing information.

The article doesn't report whether the study analysed the results by gender, but this article, Key Website Research Highlights Gender Bias, suggests that gender makes a big difference to the user experience:

"Despite the parity of target audience, the results found that 94% of the sites displayed a masculine orientation with just 2% displaying a typically female bias."

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