How to determine if Standard Deviation is high/low

I have derived the following response time data for a performance test I am running:

Min - 8sec Max - 284sec Average - 28sec Standard Deviation - 27sec

What does the standard deviation say about the response time data distribution? When you say low/high standard deviation, what does this actually mean? Is this in comparison to the Average/Min/Max?

I know what standard deviation is and how it's computed. I'm just not sure how to tell if it is high or low.

• "I know what standard deviation is". Hmm ... if you do know what standard deviation is, you should know that it is a measure of dispersion of data ... – user1551 Dec 17 '12 at 10:38
• Yes, what confuses me is how to tell if a standard deviation is high or low. The examples I've read so far have not said what makes it high or low. – rro Dec 17 '12 at 10:53
• Aren't terms like "high" or "low" just a matter of subjective judgement? The data you have seem to suggest that time is very roughly speaking 28sec +/- 27 sec, so in a very naive sense you expect the results to usually fall between 1sec and 60sec. I'd say it's rather high deviation, but I suppose it depends on the characteristic of a problem. – Jakub Konieczny Dec 17 '12 at 11:00