10kB Web Pages

Over recent times there has been a lot of stir around the growth of website assets and total transfer over the wire. It has been pointed out that the average size of a website is now larger than Doom! (Credit: mobiForge)

Page Size

In response to these acusations of page bloat, we have seen an emerging trend which is that top websites are now decreasing there page weights. For example Financial Times has stated they are moving from a “culture of addition” to a “culture of subtraction” in order to reduce page load times. Customer sastisfaction is the obvious benefit here, faster pages means people get to the content they want quicker. But there is also another motive at play; research has shown load speed costs money, some times in a big way. Not only are there costs to the provider for heavy website, but it can also cost users as mobile data plans are often expensive, especially in developing countries.

With all this talk of reducing website page bloat, I thought I'd share with you something I came across over the last week or so called 10k Apart. 10k Apart is a challenge to "Build a compelling web experience that can be delivered in 10kB and works without JavaScript". I found this an interesting proposition, with modern emphasis on sometimes complex and generally heavyweight JavaScript frameworks it takes a step back to the first princple technologies of the web. I came up with a couple of entries for the competition, both more simple experiences rather than a traditional website per se. My goal was to produce something small, experiential, simple and of course, sans JavaScript. I ended up doing two entries, the first was 10k-tiles and the second was 10k-quadtree. I won't say too much about them and rather let you have a play. Overall 10k-tiles came to 4.5kB ungzipped and 10k-quadtree came in at 8.7kB. The quadtree was slightly heavier because of all the necessary divs. Overall it was a fun experience which has made me reflect on keeping the web lean and no more complex than it needs to be. In addition I learned more about one of my cryptonites; CSS!

As a final thought I thought I'd leave you with two articles I found interesting regarding page weight; the first is Chris Zacharia's eye opener post about reducing page weight at YouTube and the positive (if unexpected) effects that had. In addition there is John Allsopp's commical post/talk 'The Website Obiesity Crisis' which is certainly worth a delve.