I’ve found myself becoming more and more concerned with the issue of bloat. It’s something that negatively affects every user of the web and it’s harmful to accessibility, usability and user experience.
It’s far too easy these days to start a project with a ‘framework’ that Contains Everything You Need ®. The problem is that it also contains 95% of things that you don’t need.
It took me a little while to realise that I was spending longer removing these unwanted items from frameworks than I would have taken to start a project from scratch.
Content, truly, is king
Ultimately, it’s all your visitors really want. We know this, but as a designer it’s often hard to remember that visitors come not for your incredible design but for the content your page contains.
Paradoxically, I’m sure almost all of us will have been in a similar situation with a clients logo. They want a bigger logo because they feel that it is important to their customers. As a designer you will have argued long and hard that this is not the case, that in fact the only one who gives a monkeys about the logo is the client themselves.
Similarly, to my mind, effects like parallax scrolling are ‘bigger logos’, the dancing paperclip of the web design world. 95% of visitors will never even notice them. Speed is important kids, unbelievably important. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
Death by 1000 cuts
What almost every visitor (including Google) will notice is your page load times. People hate to wait, for anything.
Often I see that it isn’t because enormous assets are being loaded, but because so many are being downloaded. This brings a double-dose of badness, as each http request adds to the slowdown, irrespective of the size or resource being fetched.
I’ve found the solution to be really quite simple; question everything.
- Question if an asset adds value (for the visitor).
- Question if you can achieve the same thing more efficiently another way.
- Question if removing a resource may actually add more value for the visitor.
These are the type of questions that drive me to make things smarter, better, faster. I’d love to know what’s driving you.