[thelist] how "heavy" do you make each page?

Fortune Elkins fortune_elkins at summithq.com
Wed Apr 3 08:43:01 CST 2002

hiya l!

very timely question from my perspective! well, fwiw, vincent flanders
thinks the max should be 47k. however, i'm wondering not just about the page
weight, but also the menu weight.

in general, i agree that it depends on the user's expectations and the
site's audience, as others have said. i try to follow an 8-second rule in
general. however, the rules are going to be different for say, yahoo, and
say, a movie site, or a banking site.

people might be willing to wait a while to let the movie trailer load. they
understand -- mostly -- that movie files are heavy. if you know that your
audience is primarily T1 or more, then heck, go to town. however even if
you're making a site that you think will be viewed mostly by corporate
executives in large firms with T1+, do remember that in latin america, etc.
even this audience may only have 64.

microsoft.com home is supposedly one of the most viewed pages, and it's
about 60-65k: heavy menus. but that's a giant site!

i find that with modern css techniques, your pages can be much lighter. it's
always these darn menus -- dhtml, java applets, whatever fancy stuff people
want -- that add tons of weight to your pages!

we used to use the Hiermenus. the new versions are a little better, but i
still added it all up: 5k for the menu items, 3k for the menu scripts, 5k
for the sniffer/loader, then the actual DOM code for each browser is
anywhere from 27 to 35k. plus any images you're using as anchors. in our
case that was another 7k. that was 52k with all these components in our
case! so i had a 9k page, with this huge menu hit! (i do have a 450 page
site -- lotta menu choices.) replacing the image anchors with text brought
be down to about 45k.

i suddenly felt a deep longing for a flash menu, which could have given me a
really good-looking, nice animation, etc. menu in just 12-15k. however, it
wasn't an option. i went to look at the FW4 menus: an even 30k.

i built a fancy sliding dhtml menu with extensions from al sparber in Dw4,
which looked great, very fancy, but came out to 45k. i looked at a fancy
sliding java applet -- whew! back down to abour 32k. but a java applet. .

my site gets bigger every week, never smaller. it's not the weight of the
individual pages that's killing me, it's these menus! everyone wants the
animated "interative" menu.

what to do; what to do?! since i do mostly have a T1 audience, maybe i
shouldn't be concerned about a 35-50k hit, esp. if the code can be cached
from the .js file, i can load it as an <iframe>/<ilayer>, etc???

please offer your thoughts,


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