In the age of broadband it’s no wonder and no surprise that both designers and developers have gotten extremely lazy with their web app and site creation skills as it pertains to file size, page weight, and load time.
I can remember back in the mid and late 90’s when Flash was the content creation of choice and keeping the flash .swf file size small was pretty much the most important part of the product design. In fact, if it broke 100k you were considered pretty much a n00b.
And the n00b-calling was in good taste and had relevant purpose. The simple fact was that not everyone had made it to DSL and cable and the vast majority was still hugging their 56k modems for dear life because AOL email didn’t load fast enough (but you’d breathe a sigh of relief when you heard the “You’ve Got Mail” jingle).
Another major milestone was when I was doing alpha/beta comps and wireframes in Flash 3.0/4.0 back in ’98/’99 for a Fortune 50 and I was able to convince management to purchase a $40,000 dollar enterprise-level piece of software that had one purpose and function only: Flash and .swf compression. It could take a 500k file and pare it down to less than 50k because it forced non-vector-based images into vectors and did a host of other insanities.
(What’s even more insane was that the entire program was a mere 30 megs).
The bottom line? Size did matter. And it still does today.
Size and page weight still matters for the Church because a good portion of those that are visiting our sites are still stuck in “Hardware 1.0,” not by choice perhaps but just because.
Is there any wonder, then, that adoption rates for new media, web 2.0 initiatives, and future-state web apps amongst the church-folk en-masse is a hard sell? Perhaps it’s not because of ignorance, lack of concern, or interest, but possibly hardware limitations like their old compaq computer rocking the old-school baud-style?
In any case, we should consider the possibility, and always have those behind the tech curve in mind when we create our websites, applications, and web-services. Let’s not lose possible online-engagements because our sites are “too state of the art” which has resulted in a heavy page weight of a site.
Want a couple quick tools to check your websites and their relative page weight? Try these on for size:
These are neither comprehensive nor absolutely 100% accurate but what they can give you is a good idea as to whether your site needs to go on a diet.
So take them for a spin and see what you find and ask yourself the couple hard questions:
- Is your website heavy without purpose?
- Are you potentially losing people and engagement because of the site’s weight?