#2: Be like electricity

A great website needs to be like electricity:

  • Always on
  • Fast
  • Obvious

We invest in people and infrastructure to ensure that the site is always available and as fast as we can make it.

It can always be faster.

Every time we find a way to make the site faster we see a corresponding increase in usage. This suggests there is latent demand. In other words, people would use Trade Me more if it was faster still.

We realise that many of our users have very slow internet connections, small monitors and old browsers. Creating a site that is usable even for these people is a major driver of loyalty.

We like Peter Blake’s mantra: “Does it make the boat go faster?”

We’re not scared to remove functionality from the website where it’s just getting in the way.

We realise keeping things lightweight and simple often doesn’t come naturally, so we try to bake this into our processes.

While complex technical solutions are often more interesting they are also generally much more difficult to get right. We prefer to not take this risk. We try to keep things simple and clean up as we go.

We agonise over seemingly small details to ensure that the site is easy to use (see #4: Empathise).

As Albert Einstein said: “Things should be as simple as possible, but no simpler”

Related posts:

Other posts from the Trade Me Manifesto series:

12 thoughts on “#2: Be like electricity”

  1. Hey Rowan, this is a really good series of posts that you’re doing here. Really appreciate you sharing this all this stuff. It should be mandatory reading for the “corporate IT” world!!

  2. the point you make is pretty straight forward. make your site fast

    i just recently moved from shared hosting to a vps server, thinking it would go faster, but it actually seems the opposite. possibly cause the database & webserver are all running off one machine

    what are 3 things i can do that will give me the best speed increase for the average punter

    perhaps you can give a few simple tips.

    eg hosting local vs international
    how much speed increase will that get me compared to caching pages, etc

    how in fact do you measure the speed of your site?

    maybe you could make another article out of it


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