Page Load Speed: Let Us Blame Those in Suits

July 14, 2015

I read “News Sites Are Fatter and Slower Than Ever.” Well, I am not sure about “ever.” I recall when sites simply did not work. Those sites never worked. You can check out the turtles if you can grab a peak at a crawler’s log file. Look for nifty codes like 2000, 4, or 12. Your mileage may vary, but the log file tells the tale.

The write up aims at news sites. My hunch is that the definition of a news site is one of those toip one percent things: The user is looking for information from a big name and generally clueless outfit like The Daily Whatever or a mash up of content from hither and yon.

Enter latency, lousy code, crazy ads from half baked ad servers, and other assorted craziness.

The write up acknowledges that different sites deliver different response times. Okay.

If you are interested in data, the article presents an interesting chart. You can see home page load times with and without ads. There’s a chart which shows page load times via different mobile connections.

The main point, in my opinion, is a good one:

Since its initial release 22 years ago, the Hyper Text Markup Language  (HTML) has gone through many iterations that make web sites richer and smarter than ever. But this evolution also came with loads of complexity and a surfeit of questionable features. It’s time to swing the pendulum back toward efficiency and simplicity. Users are asking for it and will punish those who don’t listen.

My hunch is that speed is a harsh task master. In our work, we have found that with many points in a process, resources are often constrained or poorly engineered. As a result, each new layer of digital plaster contributes to the sluggishness of a system.

Unless one has sufficient resources (money and expertise and time), lousy performance is the new norm. The Google rails and cajoles because slow downs end up costing my favorite search engine big bucks.

Most news sites do not get the message and probably never will. The focus is on another annoying overlay, pop up, or inline video.

Click away, gentle reader, click away. Many folks see the browser as the new Windows 3.11. Maybe browsers are the new Windows 3.11?

Stephen E Arnold, July 14, 2015


One Response to “Page Load Speed: Let Us Blame Those in Suits”

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