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Orbitz Beats out Hotel Brands in Monthly Website Performance Index

This month on the Keynote Lodging Performance Index we looked at the question of network time versus user experience time.
Network time is the time it takes for a browser to download all content excluding any pauses the browser might experience due to JavaScript execution or Plug-in loading. User Experience time is the total elapsed time needed for the page to be assembled and rendered by the browser. The difference is that after some content is sent over the wire (Network time), the browser may need more time to “do stuff” with it such as executing it or load additional plug-ins such as Flash. This can also be affected by the number of images and rich content trying to assemble, as one example. This can add to the amount of time it takes for a page to be totally complete (User Experience time), as far as the user is concerned.
In June our top site is Orbitz. It benefits from a well-designed page that only includes half a second of browser activity time. When compared with one of the worst sites, Hilton, we can see how a poorly architected page can cause additional user frustration by adding browser delays of up to two seconds to the page.
A well-architected site takes full advantage of maximizing the network connections the browser can make, as well as streamlining JavaScript or other plug-ins to present content to the user as quick as possible.
Hilton does a good job starting to present content to the user quickly (“time to first page”). However, its page doesn’t complete the onLoad event until five seconds into the download. This causes the visitor to have to wait five seconds before they can begin to interact (“time to interactive page”) with the page, such as clicking on links or photos or inputting searches. A standard industry benchmark for load time (not just for lodging but for all consumer-facing sites) is under four seconds.
Meanwhile Harrah’s, which we discussed last month, is still languishing at the bottom after its May redesign took it from the top section of the table.
Anyone can also sign up for a free monthly email delivery of the Index. Use it to track how your company’s performance is doing against the competition, or just to follow what some of the major names are setting as performance standards. Keynote runs a large number of US and global Indexes, across a range of industries and government, which many organizations use as the benchmark to achieve their own optimum Web performance.
The Keynote Lodging Performance Index measures and benchmarks the performance of the home pages of the major hotel and travel booking sites from the ten largest US metropolitan areas (Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, DC) on high-speed links attached to key points on the largest US Internet Service Provider (ISP) backbones. Sites are measured every fifteen minutes.
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