Don’t keep your visitors waiting!

Many websites these days resemble television networks. They feature top-notch graphics and sound, but their creators often forget that visitors aren’t there to watch TV.

In reality, most users view your website on screens that are 15 to 19 cm wide, with the ability to see only 216 colors, and loading at 28.8 Kb/s.

What does all this mean?

If you’re a website owner, designer, SEO, or someone who manages it, you should follow a simple rule. Ready? Here it is: make sure you’re at 28.8 Kb/s; enter your URL; press Enter, and… hold your breath. If you don’t want to suffocate before the page loads, you should reduce its size.

I believe some might actually hold their breath for a long time, so I strongly recommend your web page not exceed 50 Kb. Ideally, it should be under 30 Kb. Yahoo’s homepage is just 20 Kb. This might seem very little, but it can go a long way.

How can you get down to 50 Kb? Or even 30 Kb?

Firstly, all images should be as small as possible. Aim for less than 4 Kb, but up to 6 Kb is also reasonable. When designing graphics for your website, remember to limit the number of colors. As a graphic designer, I know it’s hard to move from millions of colors to just 216. Yes, 216 is the safe amount. Keep that in mind.

Use flat colors in your image design. Photoshop has made gradients very popular. You can always find a gradient background. Right-click the image to see its size. 8-12 Kb won’t take up much space. The problem with gradients is they use many colors and smoothing. It all takes time. The more color in your image, the larger it will be.

Use more design, less graphics. A beautiful web page that downloads quickly is a success. Here’s the dilemma – beauty or speed? Instead of creating graphics and photos, format them in JPG. Make your web pages attractive, using color schemes. Use solid colors to make borders. Use negative spaces on the web page. Remember, sometimes, less is more. If you’re unsure, think about a typical visitor to your site. Can additional graphics make them visit the site again and again? If the answer is “yes,” keep it at all costs. If the answer is “maybe” or “it just looks good,” don’t. The audience will appreciate what they need, without any excess. Your job is to make our lives easier, not make us sit in front of the screen, nervously waiting for a heavy web page to download.