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take action! improving site speed > a speedy site in 6 steps - Pg. 236

take action! improving site speed 2. 236 The page is transferred slowly. Once the page is located, it's sent across the internet to the user's browser with all its accompanying files (images, movies, scripts) in tow. The transfer speed depends on three factors: your site's bandwidth, the user's connection speed, and--especially--the size of the files you're transferring. If the page has a lot of images--or if those images take up a lot of memory--the page will transfer very slowly. The page is drawn slowly. Once the files are transferred to the user's computer, the browser draws (or "renders") the page. This should be a straightforward process, but often is not. The browser may have to wait for all the elements to load before it can draw anything at all. And the browser may get bogged down by contradictory commands in the HTML, which cause the screen to be redrawn. 3. how slow is too slow? Site speed is usually measured in the seconds it takes a single page to load over a given internet connection (56K modems are usually the lowest-common denominator). This speed is then trans- lated into a rough K-size, so the production team can stick to the guidelines without speed-testing every page. A good rule of thumb is that your pages should load in less than 12 seconds for users on a 28.8K modem (that's about 8 seconds on a 56K). But every site has to decide for itself how fast its pages should be. Sites aimed at utility--search engines, for example--need to be whip-fast. While online magazines and art galleries can afford to be a bit slower. Note Between the moment the user clicks on a link and the moment the page appears on her screen, a lot of things have to happen. And they all slow you down. Expectations will often vary even within a single site. The home page is expected to be the fastest