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A great article on website bloat - The Website Obesity Crisis

Maciej Cegłowski writes on his blog idlewords a longish but to the point article on the causes and effects of big web pages.

It starts off to a bit of a rocky start - in my view - with comparing the web site sizes to the literary works of Russian writers, but I don't think the physical comparison of web page sizes to big books is solid enough. But the article gets better and is definitely worth the read.

This topic especially tickles my fancy, since I have for a long time been a proponent of minimalism in "homepage design" and would've liked to make my own web presence on the web as lightweight as possible - preferably static html with little or no Javascript, but this failed due to my time resources => big CMS and big theme, not fully controlled by me.

One of the biggest things I am a fan of in his post is the fact that I believe ads should be served from the same host as the other contents. Ads should be meaningful to the target audience. Ads should be incorporated into the design in a non-intrusive manner. Ads should optimally be tailored to really help the user find things that are of interest to them.

Alas we do not live in such a world and ad-blockers are a must given the reality of malware ads being served even on big sites - even if usually for brief periods.

Another thing he bemoans is the amount of Javascript and design compromises needed to get a 'one size fits all' (responsive) design. I thoroughly believe that serving customized markup for different categories of devices is a better solution. This is fraught with its own problems of keeping up to date with classifications etc. but it makes for a better end-result as a 2008 Nokia barely-smart-enough-for-internet phone does not need to have the 512kB JS libs since it doesn't even know how to render table and so forth. There are some work-arounds, but I digress.

Go read The Website Obesity Crisis!

[Or you can watch his talk (53 mins)]

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