What the heck ever happened to the 90’s?

9 04 2008

I remember being a senior designer for a company (who shall remain unamed) with a friend of mine James Peek (sparkos.com) doing all sorts of design work but mainly for online sites.

Back then, 100kb was considered big for a site, and even deal breaking if you were the Government.

Nowadays, I’m willing to bet no one hardly ever thinks about the size of the page, well at least that’s the impression I get anyway.

Look at this!:

Apple.com (on 9/4/2008) – 576Kb

ebay.com.au (on 9/4/2008) – 596Kb

Microsoft.com (on 9/4/2008) – 264Kb

Adobe.com (on 9/4/2008) – 716Kb

Amazon.com at a scale tipping (9/4/2008) – 1MB

See now the way I see it, it’s almost broadband bloat. It’s almost a given to many designers that broadband will be in place for the end user, so we have no issues about making half megabyte sized web pages or worse (tutt tutt Amazon.com).

I recall the day when a friend of mine was gloating about how he developed a space invaders clone within 1, yes ONE kilobyte!

Now maybe I’m being a bit of a fuddy duddy, but surely SURELY 1Mb front pages are a bit irresponsible and just plain lazy. Back in the day, I along side my fellow pixel pushers, used to go to great pains to ensure the graphics were web optimised, so they would be light, and load quickly, thus not annoying the wholly bejoinkers out of the end users.

Heck we even got so tricky as to use background colours in our …. *grimmace* table cells to save pixels downloaded.

I think James even managed to do a client side web page editor in flash with under 150Kb at some point, AND it had font controls even!!!!

Of course this all raises the next question, with the advent of mobile browsing, and all that it entails (dodgy wireless broadband radio cards and so on) are we heading back to the 90’s? do the now current interface designers need to take some lessons from us old hands, and start to think about getting our websites on a bit of a pixel diet?

I think so…. I think so indeed.

ps, well done James for your site still being trim taught and terrific at a miserly 84Kb.




6 responses

9 04 2008
James Peek

Ah, the good ol’ days.
I was finishing off a Flash site last night and was mortified that it was almost 200kb but having seen that list, and knowing I’ve got a nice pre-loader plus modular content makes me feel not quite so bad!

9 04 2008
James Peek

PS. My site isn’t really a good “modern” example. As with most people in the industry, time constraints mean it has been in dire need of a refresh for the past 5(!) years… One day, no really…

9 04 2008

Feel good you should! heck even this page is 388Kb, but I’m restricted and won’t winge because I can haz bloggin for freez.

Never look in the bonnet of the mechanics car. Rule 1.

9 04 2008

Yes please remember there are people in increasing numbers accessing sites over GPRS and 3G – and not neccessarily the generally crappy “mobile” alternatives either!

11 04 2008
Adam Gilbert

Agreed, some discipline should be applied when it comes to site downloads. Of course it is not just the user’s end but the servers performance too.

I thought this was a great idea by Salesforce for transparency of service from the SaaS product :


Perhaps some sort of standard data feed could be set up for performance stats for websites that could be served out to the public in terms of performance to try and drive us to keep the size down and keep us honest?

Even if it is only us geeks that bother to take a look and complain to our comrades.

12 04 2008
Gary Barber

I must work on the sites on the wrong end of town. As I don’t think any of my sites are over 200kb on the home page in most cases.

Okay except the ones with video, but that’s not auto playing, so its not streaming.

Its all really about audience, if the audience has the broadband, then the minor demographics in the audience will get ignored. Now does raise an accessibility issue doesn’t it.

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