By Virtual Mechanics
| Dogma is the belief
in something because it is "known" to be true and
consequently there is no need to examine the evidence. Dogma
is often used in political or religious references because their
basic tenet is that their fundamental belief is a given. Democrats
and Liberals believe that social responsibility is the primary
objective of a government. Republicans and Conservatives believe
that a strong economy will take care of society. I believe that
if I were as rich as Bill Gates I would take care of everyone
by spending lots of my money. (Attila the Hun and Genghis Khan
shared a similar belief.)
The Internet is fertile ground for Dogma. The fact is that if
an 'Expert' pronounces an Internet fact to be true, then it
can quickly become true simply because there is no evidence
or source of evidence to contradict it. Pretty soon there are
many experts pronouncing the same 'truth' and using each other
as their source. As more experts pronounce each others truth,
the more true it seems to become.
I have many pet peeves regarding the Internet. A common one
relates to designing your web site. Not because there is a lot
of falsehood but because there is often no confirmation that
the information is based upon fact. Even though its apparent
truth may seem obvious, it may be superficial.
For example, how fast should your home page load? I have heard
many numbers about how many visitors you will loose for every
ten seconds of download time. 20% is a common one. So after
10 seconds of waiting you will be down to 80%. 20 second at
60%, 30 seconds at 40% and so on until no one is left. So is
this true or dogma?
None of us like to wait. If we are waiting to turn at a traffic
light we may get impatient after a minute. If we are waiting
for a plane we can easily expect to wait for an hour before
becoming impatient. In either case, how soon are we likely to
make the turn or leave the airport simply because we are impatient
It seems to me that a good business practice would be to avoid
getting your potential customers annoyed in the first place.
If 20% of visitors are likely to leave after 10 seconds (what
sites do they actually end up looking at?), then surely the
remaining 80% are becoming impatient. So what do you do? Create
a site that loads in
There are actually two dogmas involved here. The first assumes
that a visitor will wait to view your site if it loads fast.
The second assumes they will leave if it loads slowly. The fact
is a visitor will leave or stay for many other reasons. Load
time is in my opinion, a relatively minor factor for a well
designed web site.
What is the truth? As with most truths, it is never so simple.
A visitor will likely stay or leave depending upon whether you
have a product or service that they are actually interested
in. Assuming that you do, your objective should NOT be to create
a fast loading page but to persuade your visitors to spend their
time to explore your
An idea I can leave you with is to display your most important
text first. Text will not only load and display fast, it will
give your visitors something to read while the rest of your
page loads. This will help avoid loosing those visitors that
are potential customers but truly impatient.
Next week I will explore some options and ideas that can be
used when designing a web page as a sales tool for first time
visitor. In the mean time, keep in mind that there are currently
few absolute truths when it comes to the Internet.
Source: "IMS Web Tips" is a weekly news letter for
all web site managers regardless of experience who are looking
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their web sites.
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