The (Knesset) race goes to the speedy
You snooze you loseYou snooze you lose

The (Knesset) race goes to the speedy

The curious correlation between how long it takes for a party's website to load and how well that party did in Tuesday's election

Kadima's website: not a winner (Photo credit: Courtesy)
Kadima's website: not a winner (Photo credit: Courtesy)

Would the Kadima party have done better in the Knesset elections if it had a faster website? According to data by US information technology company Compuware, it’s entirely possible that Shaul Mofaz and his fellow Kadima candidates would have gotten enough votes for several Knesset seats if their Internet page had loaded more quickly.

It’s not just an egghead theory, according to Compuware, represented in Israel by Matrix Technologies. According to statistics garnered by Compuware’s Gomez web analysis platform, users expect a site to load within 10 seconds or so. If it takes longer, they will give up — and will not give the site another chance.

With few opportunities to connect with new voters, many of the parties running in Knesset elections have in recent years relied on Internet sites to get their message across. Parties prominently display their website addresses on television commercials and in print ads, often including a QR code, which users can scan with their smartphones to load the party’s site.

But according to Internet content delivery giant Akamai, users who are forced to wait too long for a site to load will turn their attention elsewhere. The ideal maximum amount of time for a site to load, says Akamai, is four seconds. Every second above that increases the likely “abandonment” rate by about 20 percent, with about a 90% abandonment rate for sites that take more than 10 seconds to load.

Of the major parties’ sites, the Likud-Beytenu’s loaded the fastest, at 1.24 seconds, according to measurements by Gomez. While the party did not do as well as expected in the elections, it still won the most Knesset seats. The big surprise of the election, of course, was Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party; according to Gomez, the party’s homepage loaded in 3.21 seconds.

Next in size is Labor, with the third-largest number of Knesset seats, according to projections — and Labor also had the third fastest-loading site, at 3.43 seconds. Labor was followed in both Knesset faction size and website loading times by Jewish Home, with 3.87 seconds.

Beyond four seconds, as mentioned, sites can expect to lose viewers — and, if they belong to political parties, perhaps votes as well. The three additional parties that Gomez measured — Meretz, Hatnua, and Kadima — did not do as well as their leaders hoped. Meretz’s site loaded in 5.29 seconds, Hatnua’s in 5.5 seconds.

And Kadima’s? The largest party in the 18th Knesset just barely scraped into the 19th — and coincidentally had a website that loaded in a whopping 17.46 seconds. If Kadima leaders and MKs are looking for reasons their party didn’t do better at the polls, perhaps they should look no further than their website.

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