World Wide Wait

World Wide Wait

Fui Hoon Nah (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA) and Kihyun Kim (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-878289-72-8.ch007
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The explosive popularity of the World Wide Web (WWW) is the biggest event in the Internet era. Since its public introduction in 1991, WWW has become an important channel for electronic commerce, information access, and publication. With exponential growth in the WWW market, Internet connection speed has become a critical issue. The long waiting time for accessing web pages has always been a major problem for WWW users (Lightner, Bose and Salvendy, 1996), especially with the increasing use of multimedia technology and the doubling of Internet users every 18-24 months. A recent survey conducted by the GVU (Graphic, Visualization, & Usability) Center at the Georgia Institute of Technology also indicates long downloading time to be the biggest problem experienced by WWW users (GVU, October 1998). This problem is so noticeable that WWW users sometimes equate the “WWW” acronym with “World Wide Wait”! Although information technology for supporting the infrastructure of WWW is continually being updated and improved, it is still not able to satisfy industry requirements and demand. In this chapter, we review the usage pattern of WWW as well as topics related to speed of Internet access such as bandwidth, Internet connection alternatives, and technology to speed up WWW access. In addition, we report an experimental research that measured and analyzed users’ “tolerable” waiting time in accessing the WWW. Based on the results of the study, we provide guidelines for web designers regarding page size restrictions in web development.

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