[thelist] What makes a good web site?

Christian Heilmann codepo8 at gmail.com
Wed Oct 18 01:58:57 CDT 2006

> > Do you have a URL?
> http://www.useit.com/alertbox/9703a.html
> I agree with the requirement for fast download speeds.  Your web site is
> a shop window.  If, when you walk along the high street, a shop window
> does not immediately grab you interest, you move onto the next shop.
> Personally, when I'm browsing through search results, I give each page a
> quick scan, and I decided within seconds whether to pursue that route
> any further.  If the page hasn't even loaded during that time, it's a
> definite no.

This is a very good example and making results pages faster is quite a
job. I just learnt recently, too that the perceived speed of a site is
as important. This means that the site does not only have to load fast
but also should be available for interaction as soon as possible. This
throws a bit of a spanner in the works of total separation of JS and
HTML as when you add JavaScript files linked with a SCRIPT tag in the
head, the main document body will not start rendering until all of
them have been loaded.
Furthermore, the more depencies you have loading (http requests) the
slower the page loads. This sometimes means that using one larger
image instead of 10 smaller ones might make the page appear a lot
This is why on high traffic sites you'll see embedded scripts and
scripts in the body.
It is a big Ajax/JavaScript application challenge to ensure that
people can start interacting with the interface while the page is
loading initially. If you cannot provide that you'll have to use a
loading screen as users will do that.

This also ties in with the autofocus bit I posted a while ago.

Chris Heilmann
Book: http://www.beginningjavascript.com
Blog: http://www.wait-till-i.com
Writing: http://icant.co.uk/

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