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Chapter 11. WORLD WIDE DESIGN > DESIGN FOR SLOW CONNECTIONS

DESIGN FOR SLOW CONNECTIONS

After people make it to their localized web sites, they don’t want to wait endlessly for the web pages to load. Yet most of them do just that, day after day, because companies have built “overweight” web sites. An overweight web site is one that uses too many graphics or too much complex scripting (or both). Put simply, the greater the weight, the greater the wait. Although overweight web sites can be a mild frustration for users in the United States, they are major obstacles in countries where high-speed connections are less common. In fact, even in the U.S., only 10% of all homes have high-speed connections.

When Is a Web Site Overweight?

The heavier a web page, the longer visitors must wait for it to load. Whether end users grow irritated depends on how long they are accustomed to waiting for an “average” web page to load. The average weight—89KB—was calculated by weighing the home pages of 300 major web sites across several industries (see Table 11.1). The weighing process entailed adding up the total weight (in kilobytes) of all graphics, HTML text, and scripting. Many home pages were lightweight, such as Lycos at 30KB and Yahoo! at 37KB, but the majority of pages were badly overweight, ranging from 80KB to well over 400KB.


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