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Take Facebook.com, for example. Even though the page "loads" in about 4.x seconds (which itself is already subpar), even after the rest of the page is loaded, the whole display is still constructing itself - such as the chat bar on the right appearing and the middle-right advertisements popping up out of nowhere.
Let's take a look at AccountMeApp.com on the right. Now, of course I'm biased because this is the production version of the website for an app I myself am developing, but there are some takeaways.
Watch the video real quick.
If there's any good rule of thumb (as both a consumer and developer myself), you should:
View your user experience (UX) like a movie.
In web applications and websites, the abandonment jump from a 2-4 second page load to a 2-6 second page load is drastic - some studies indicate a 17% increase in page abandonment on the low end, versus others which cite a complete 40% abandonment rate if a page does not load in 3 seconds. If you can optimize your user experience to reduce page load time by only 2 seconds, you can easily obtain a 20% drop in page abandonment.
Now go forth and code that movie.