blackbearnh writes "We all know that slow Web pages drive users crazy, but where is the boundary between too slow and too simple? As Microsoft's Eric Schurman points out, the fastest-loading page of all is a blank one, but it's also the most useless. In an interview with O'Reilly Radar leading up to his appearance at the Velocity Conference, Schurman talks about his experiences working on some of Microsoft's highest-volume sites, including the home page and Live Search. In particular, he discusses how Microsoft will selectively degrade the performance of pages to small sets of users so that they can see how various amounts of delay at different times and places affect user behavior. 'In cases where we were giving what was a significantly degraded experience, the data moved to significance extremely quickly. We were able to tell when we delayed people's pages by more than half a second, and it was very obvious that this had a significant impact on users very quickly. We were able to turn off that experiment. The reasoning... was it helps us make a strong argument for how we can prioritize work on performance against work on other aspects of the site.' He also talks about what it's like to be one of the most often-targeted DDoS sites on the planet."