it.gen.nz

Writings on technology and society from Wellington, New Zealand

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bloggers getting bigger, messier?

Great headline, isn’t it – I wish I’d thought of it. It’s from El Reg, a UK online newspaper, decrying the expansion of blog front pages.
It seems that more and blogs – and web pages in general – are putting images and other things on their front pages which serve to slow down the page loading.

I thought I’d measure a few front pages of web sites, using a web based service:

Here are some blogs and other web pages:

Kiwiblog 500k (2 minutes on a 56k modem)
Publicaddress 29k
Stuff 600k
NZ Herald 250k, mobile version 120k
it.gen.nz 30k

This matters because it makes the pages less usable to dial up or mobile users. So, if you have a web site with a big, heavy, front page you are effectively saying that you don’t want people with slow lines or who are using mobiles to surf there. That may be a valid decision for you, but you need to be aware that you are making it. And for many companies, and especially for government departments, it’s just not OK to disenfranchise people by effectively cutting them out of your website. Now, the government is very aware of this issue and has a set of web standards which departments have to conform to – and those standards say that pages mustn’t be too big.

posted by colin at 7:29 am  

2 Comments

  1. The herald also runs a pernicious script, which has the habit of crashing/hanging firefox, on each new tab opened. I got a good report on my site, front page of 20k, with a 130K script on the back-end, however I understand that where you have alot of content you may want people to see a good portion of it onload. I designed it this way because I can’t abide slow loading sites, in fact I usually just give-up. It did take me a fair amount of time to write, as xtrahost doesn’t support php or asp, so had to do it all in javascript. Anyways an interesting read. Ta.

    Comment by Luke — 13 November 2008 @ 11:44 am

  2. A timely article, thanks. Useful links too.

    Front page bloat is a “growing” problem for bandwidth-challenged Internet users. While I can understand that many websites want to have an attractive face, it is frustrating that many have forgotten to utilise browser caching to make life better for regular visitors with slow connections.

    Comment by Wild Land — 18 November 2008 @ 11:54 am

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