I have recently spoken to a few webmasters that say no. I saw one website that was 1.5 MB in size with 66 objects. That is a bit out of the norm. Most often you will see sites that are around 200k which best case will load in 45 seconds. This does not mean they don’t see anything for 45 seconds. Often your text will come up but not your pictures or flash. If you just really need to have a big web page make sure you have useful information in text that comes up quickly. If you design a web page you want people to see the whole thing. If your sites takes 20-60 seconds to load they are not going to wait to see the whole thing. They may just give up and hit the back button and try the next site on the search engine they used. In another article I posted a link to a CNN story that showed 76% of rural users have dial up and 61% of urban/suburban users have dial up. This is a huge group of people to eliminate.
One comment I get is that “I don’t care about dial up users I only want people with money”. The assumption is that dial up users are low income. This is not true. I know poor people with broadband and well off people with dial up. There are still lots of rural areas that don’t have broadband at all. Some people just don’t see the need to spend $50 a month when they don’t use the Internet that much. $50 a month is a lot to pay for a yellow pages. There are lots of people with decent incomes that think about their money before they spend it. Broadband is a luxury not a need. Granted most Americans don’t know the difference between luxury and needs. You would be surprised how many people live in trailer parks and have $80 a month premium cable and $50 a month broadband and a big screen TV but they can’t feed their kids.
I found a website that simulates dial up to test your sites speed. It uses a slow proxy to simulate a slow load. It is not perfect but it is close. I think there are several more I just did a search on Google for “dial up modem simulation”.
A website should be designed to accomplish your goals. If you make the experience rough for your visitor then you lower the chances of accomplishing your goals. I just can’t believe somebody will spend thousands of dollars to build a website and then make is so a large part of the people on the Internet can’t use it.