Short Load Times and Good Web Design

Short Load Times and Good Web Design

We have all been there, sat at our computer waiting for the page to load, then waiting some more, then waiting a bit longer. Sometimes we stick around, other times, because of our impatience we hit the back button and find another web site at which to look at or buy something. Loading times today are as important as at any other time in the fast. However, web site designers and developers seem to pay less attention these days assuming that everyone has super-fast connections and the hosting server can deliver everything at super fast speed.

This is where good practice in website design comes in and that every page, together with all its assets, such as images, style sheets, JavaScript files and the like, are aggregated in size and the amount of time to download estimated for a variety of connection speeds.

The knowledgeable, professional and astute web designer will use certain methods to reduce this time as much as possible, and often without noticeable changes in the quality of the site to the end website user. By placing formatting in external Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) much repetition can be avoided. This works for two reasons. The first is that the CSS will only be downloaded once per visit and secondly all the formatting that would be repeated in page after page of HTML is removed from the equation. Likewise, by including all Javascript (JS) in an external .js file, this is only downloaded once regardless of how many pages on the site are accessed.

Another technique used by web designers is to ensure that the compression of images is adequate. Unless you have a website showcasing something such as photography most images can be heavily compressed. For some images, people can’t tell the difference between those at 60% quality and those at 80%. For this, you need to experiment to ensure that you get the right compression and remember that every image is different. Luckily many professional-level image editors (eg Photoshop) allow you to preview images at different compressions alongside each other so you can make a selection based on appearance rather than guessing at a percentage to use.

If you follow these simple guidelines then you should be able to reduce the download time for your pages and hopefully provide rapid access to your site and prevent users from navigating away through frustration.

Source by R Reed

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