Make it snappy!
Some thoughts on response times
Discussing a service level definition today with a small group of people, we had a brief conversation about page load times.
I had included in the document an eight-second load time as a minimum performance requirement when under full load - with three hundred requests in one second, pages should still load within 8 seconds.
The question came up - was I out of date in my thinking? Eight seconds was the rule when I started running a web server farm in 2001, but with the advent of broad band, is that still true?
I came across this interesting article: http://www.websiteoptimization.com/speed/tweak/psychology-web-performance/ which consolidates a lot of research and puts dollars on speed. Eight seconds turns out to not be a terrible benchmark for the outside of your performance envelope, but with the understanding that about half of your visitors will be annoyed... and likely leave. Four is a better number.