Thursday, July 14, 2005

Page footprints

I am always surprised at how little attention is paid to page footprints (size) on many websites and intranets (especially now that everyone seems to have a fat connection). Page footprints are not just about how fast the page loads for the user, they also offer fantastic savings in bandwidth.

This came to my mind last week - as I went onto the BBC site in search of news about the London Bombing tragedy, I noticed that the homepage had been completely stripped back to basics. At first I wasn't sure if this was deliberate, or if many BBC staff had been caught up in the disruption and that departments were too under-staffed to offer a full service. In fact, as Martin Belam points out on his currybet site, the action was deliberate in order to ensure that the BBC coud cope with the predicted (and in the event, huge) spike in traffic.

On a oragmatic note, you don't even have to be quite so proactive - simply switching to standards-based XHTML/CSS instead of table layout can reduce page sizes dramatically. I seem to remember a hypothetical redesign of a Microsoft page reducing footprint by 80%. Try to keep it lean and mean (where appropriate) seems to be a sensible watchword.

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