[thelist] Percentage of users still on Dialup? (offlist)

Ian Anderson ian at zstudio.co.uk
Fri Mar 11 09:05:06 CST 2005

This is a great question, and I too look forward to reading more about it.

In The Art and Science of Web Design, Jeffrey Veen made a comment about 
whether you should feel free to add more content to your sites as more 
people move to faster connections that really stuck with me.

In the chapter on speed (p168), which is all about squeezing the last 
byte from your pages, he says:

"Want to know a dirty little secret? I've been surfing for the last few 
years on a T3 line leased from my offices...pages load as if from my 
hard drive. Software updates zip down seemingly instantly. MP3 files 
stream in real time. And you know what? I never want the web sites I 
visit to get any slower. Ever."

This was written back in December 2000 - before broadband was really 
established and widely available, but I still think it holds true.

One performance goal in HCI is to get interactions to below the 0.5 
second threshold at which people consciously notice a delay between 
their actions and the response. The web is easily capable of doing this 
on a consistent basis into the future if designers maintain the 
discipline of keeping code and images light.

Given the choice of fatter pages versus better performance, I know what 
I want.

I think the approach used in many sites now where big versions of rich 
content are made available beside slimmed down versions is dead right. 
If you can deliver big content automatically to broadband users, so much 
the better but *only* imho if there's a benefit to the user such as 
video or sound quality.


Ian Anderson

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