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Slow Verus Fast Access For your Visitors

A recent article about site access speed posted over at Lorelle on WordPress started me thinking about my own path of site development over the last 7 years. The article talks about how up until recently most people were using dial up phone connections to reach the internet, and most sites needed to be optimized for this slow speed in order to be successful. This is true with sites I’ve developed, especially the first generation version of the Stupid and Insane Defenders Against Chaos webcomic site. The new version of the site is based now on WordPress and has many new features, but it’s also much larger and “slower” to load if you were to use a dial up connection. I think I subconsciously resisted moving to a new platform for a long time based on my thought that we’d be dropping support for slower connections, but as times change you do need to move on eventually. I’ve tried to keep the new site to a loading time that makes sense and isn’t really too bloated–I still find no need for unneeded flashy AJAX stuff or flash movie embeds, but I think most new site developers really have no desire to be restrained at all. And while cell phones and wireless systems are getting faster, mobile devices, and many libraries and school computer rooms will still feel like dial up in some ways when loading sites, a key thing many new developers forget about. It’s a balancing act and you need to think about your audience and what things are really needed for your site. I’d definitely suggest checking out Lorelle’s post to read more about the subject.


  1. It’s interesting how we began designing for dial up, then moved towards embracing high speed broadband, but now we are stepping back to deal with mobile access, a step above dial-up, but not much.

    And I agree that many designers today show no restraint when it comes to overloading a page with underlying code. It might look minimal on the surface, but underneath is a lot of bandwidth suckers.

    Thanks for spreading the words and thinking about this. It’s important that people understand that a balance must be found to accommodate both demands.

  2. As I’ve mentioned to people before, my DSL account includes 20 hours of dial-up access I can use if my primary connection is out. Even before I was with this carrier, I kept a redundant dial-up account on the side. Ten dollars a month (less than a day-old donut with your coffee) lets even budding web developers check their page downloads once in a while.

    A good page is one that pleases the visitor. That is: it delivers the goods quickly. Awesome techno-bloat is just overhead — dead air — until the content comes along.

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