Speed and attention span.

WordPress Mobile Speed


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Without scarcity, no one would ever pay for anything. There would be an infinite supply of everything, no one could make money, which means we couldn’t exchange it for goods and services. But then, why would we need to, if there was an endless supply of everything?

That decline comes in the form of attention spans, which has fallen from an average attention span of 12 seconds to 8 seconds in the last 15 years. This is, more than likely, due to the increasing demands on an average adult’s attention all day long.

Speed is about user attention span.

The idea is to build relationships with your brand incrementally, with small asks of attention before big ones, so that you can earn customer attention – or else you’ll never be able to keep it.

Pareto Analysis is a technique used for business decision making based on the 80/20 rule. It statistically separates a limited number of input factors as having the greatest impact on a desirable outcome.

The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information” is one of the most highly cited papers in psychology. It was published in 1956 in Psychological Review by the cognitive psychologist George A. Miller of Princeton University’s Department of Psychology. It is often interpreted to argue that the number of objects an average human can hold in working memory is 7 ± 2. This is frequently referred to as Miller’s law.

Speed slowdowns: unproductive and expressive aesthetic features.

Expressive aesthetic design in web-speak is often called “feature rich.” Feature rich and speed require a fine balancing act. Speed is a kindness to your users.

Yet more than speed, we’re concerned how UX affects profitability. Speed is the first barrier to good UX. Classic design aesthetic makes it so nothing distracts from the focus: the products or content. But too much classic aesthetic can be boring.

Expressive design elements are intended to attract attention. But, they slow down site speed and make for a poorer user experience (UX). Specifically, anything that “moves” is expressive aesthetic. But it’s not limited to animation. If you get too much expressive aesthetic, you end up with visual noise and confusion.

Four calls to action compete for user attention and are add-ons that slow down the page. They often cost money increasing site overhead.

What’s most important? When the user wonders what they should click next, you’ve failed. The hope is making sales – not noise. So these are the offenders: chat box features, sliders, disappearing Main Menus (make it persistent-on-scroll instead), popup surveys, animated product rollovers. And of course, poor hierarchy on the page (bad emphasis).

From our experimentation with human memory and boredom, users only tolerate 12 choices on a page. Then they feel overwhelmed and overloaded by cognitive burden. The more choices, the harder a buying decision.

Animation is more negative than positive for UX. It distracts most. The assumption is because humans are hardwired to snap visually to anything that moves out of fear, this instinct can be harnessed to direct attention.

Have you ever tried reading a page with a fly crawling on it? Annoying isn’t it.

Popups and sliders are intrusive. Flies! Even repulsive to user attention. They annoy. Users feel they’re manipulated by faddish, slow-loading gimmicks. We don’t care how effective the popup or slider plugin authors – and affiliates claim. Their opinion doesn’t count. It’s biased. No source credibility.

Get rid of sliders as a design crutch. This forces better content and design decisions. It lightens the page weight. What’s the most important content? How can you meaningfully and simply present one, single, most-important motivating idea?

You can’t emphasize everything. Emphasizing everything equals empathizing nothing – a marketing adage (E2=E0). If you attempt emphasizing more than one idea, you create cognitive and visual noise. Confusion, delay, or abandonment results.

The screen real estate is better used by a static image. Or even better – NO IMAGE AT ALL. State with non-moving text: who you are, what you do, and why it’s important to your audience. That’s your positioning statement or elevator pitch. Advertise it everywhere on your site.

Attention is the limiting factor in information consumption. Because mental capability is limited, information receptiveness is also limited. Attention is a decision-filter to reduce cognitive overload by identifying relevance fast. If it takes too long to locate or identify something valuable, users search elsewhere.

Primacy bias: The first content.

  • relevant
  • interesting
  • audience approved
  • Information overload consumes audience attention.
  • Information abundance creates a poverty of attention.
  • Allocate attention efficiently.
  • Overabundance of information sources dilute attention.
  • What’s needed is efficient removal of unimportant or irrelevant information.
  • Overexposure

Adding valuable intangibles that cannot be reproduced at any cost. These intangibles are:

  • Immediacy – priority access, immediate delivery
  • Personalization – tailored just for you
  • Interpretation – support and guidance
  • Authenticity – how can you be sure it is the real thing?
  • Accessibility – wherever, whenever
  • Embodiment – books, live music
  • Patronage – “paying simply because it feels good”,
  • Findability – “When there are millions of books, millions of songs, millions of films, millions of applications, millions of everything requesting our attention — and most of it free — being found is valuable.”


  • Attention to novel items propagates and eventually fades among large populations.
  • Attention is a major and the first stage in the process of converting non-consumers.
  • Lack of superfluidity or frictionless information hinders decision making. Instead users keep searching and comparing products.
  • Information pollution is Spam. Saturation.

What information is a waste of time?


Steve Teare
performance engineer
May 2022


PagePipe Site Tuning Services for Speed

Instead of band-aid approaches, we drill down to the root cause of your slow site. This is origin optimization. Also known as site tuning. To do this, we analyze site components:

  • Hosting
  • Theme
  • Plugins
  • Scripts and third-party services.
  • Images and media library.
  • We minimize globally loading plugin effects.

Find out more details about Site TuningGet Speed!