When you ask users what they want, they will tell you. They want information fast. They care about finding information over 7 times more than the care about appearance.
Therefore, your design elements should focus on helping the user find pages on your site versus just creating visual impact. Otherwise, 60% of users leave a site if they can’t find what they need easily.
If a page takes over 3 seconds to load, mobile users bounce as the Pingdom chart below suggests.
SEMRush gauges page speed using a 1 second rule. I would argue they are closer. My personal experience suggests that the widow has continued to narrow.
The root cause of most speed issues is the content management system (CMS) that you choose for your website.
If your site is built on Wordpress or Wix, you are using a theme. Every theme carries a set of instructions (CSS), which tell the browser how to render the page. Every theme has customization options, drop-down menus, animations, and such.
When a page is rendered, the browser has to sort through all this code to see what your content requires. The unused features can stop the page from rendering, creating render-blocking resources or unused CSS.
A theme is user friendly. They are faster to build, easier to maintain, and simpler to update. You do not need to understand coding or even basic HTML or CSS commands to get great looking results. However, there is a big trade-off, and that is page speed.