Designing for the slow web

Over the past few months, I’ve visited a number of small and no so small NSW towns and regions.

Down the coast from Sydney, up the coast and in-land. 

In the last twelve months, I’ve done Mollymook, Glen Innes, Dubbo, Wagga Wagga, the Central Coast, the Hunter Valley, the Blue Mountains, Lithgow, Newcastle and Condobolin.

My next trip is up the north coast, whenever I can find the time.

Some of the places in NSW I have visited

Apart from long drives or flying in small, shitty planes, there is one thing that stands out and unites each of these towns and regions.

They all have incredibly slow Internet. Whether on mobile or Wi-Fi.

Like, really slow and consistently slow.



Designing for users in the sticks

Whilst flat and CSS-driven design is becoming popular and reducing some of the heaviness of web pages, we are still a long way away from designing web pages for users living in the sticks.

Based on my consistently frustrating experience in fact, we are about as far away in designing light, snappy web pages as web pages are slow outside of major capital cities like Sydney.

This of course will come as no surprise to most people and especially those living in regional and rural Australia; though it is made very real when you visit these areas, especially with the frequency that I have been of late.

Research has shown that simpler websites are regarded as more beautiful by users and have higher conversion rates (just trust me on this one); in theory and generally in practice, simpler are also faster to load because they carry less weight.

This blog might come across as one big truism, though a quarter of Australia lives outside its capital cities.

Web designers should be forced to live a week in Macksville on a 13” laptop; the resulting web designs from thereon would benefit everyone.

Web designer and web developers really would have to focus on speed, otherwise their work would never be seen.