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I Hate Web Bloat – Please Remove Junk from Your HTML

I hate web bloat.

A quick visit to to the New York Times homepage requires 394 HTTP requests, 5.5Mb to download, and took my browser many seconds render. This is insanity.

https://www.allthink.com/a/ufile/1000002/ss-nyt-load.png

The New York Times is not alone . Every major news website I could think of requires at least 100 requests to load. Even non-news, signup-for-my-service startup websites require dozens of requests.

This is plea to managers and web developers everywhere: stop injecting crap into your website. Slow-loading, clunky websites are bad for your users and bad for your business.

Analytics . Google Analytics, plus Mixpanel, plus Optimizely, plus New Relic, plus Outbrain, plus a zillion other shiny tracking-code-of-the-week litter the Web. I’m always bemused by the multitude of redundant tracking codes on websites. Do you think that six trackers just aren’t enough? Is that seventh tracker going to be the one that finally grants you insight into the minds of your users? I’m going to call shinanagins and say you should have no more than two tracking services on your site. When you feel the urge to add a new tracker, remove an old one first.

Libraries and petty effects . No, you should not load your 20Mb bootstrap-jQuery-CoffeScript library just to make something slide when I scroll down. Users will never see your neato effect because they’ve already left your slow-loading site. Petty effects should take only a handful of lines of javascript. Or even better, just dump the petty effects all together. Do you really think making an image fade in will make me sign up? No, petty effects have no value for your users – they’re just little internal ego boosters that slow rendering.

Custom Fonts . Seriously, just take them off. They serve no purpose whatsoever except to make hipsters with low-technical-abilities feel included. Arial, Verdana, Georgia, Times New Roman, and Currier New all work perfectly fine. Vint Cerf didn’t invent TCP/IP for you impress me with your serif kerning.

Ads . I can’t blame you for putting ads on your site as you need to make money. And I can’t blame you for the the online ad industry’s broken practices. But I can complain about them. Each ad makes a ridiculous number of requests. I need to load the ad’s javascript, which renders and iframe, which requests an HTML page, which contains a Flash embed, which requests a SWF file and an FLV video, and so forth. And of course, the ads need to be tracked, so a chain of about a dozen interested parties each inserts their own tracking code. Surely there is better way – can’t Al Gore or some one fix this?

One of the things I’m committed to in developing Allthink (this site) is keep keep an extreme minimum of HTTP requests. At the time of writing this, excluding images, this page requires only SIX requests to load.

Developers of these websites, maybe you have a fiber optic internet connection straight into their nVida multicore GPU supercomputers, but I don’t. I have a cable internet and a labtop – just like 99.9% of your visitors. And on my system your bloated site loads slow and scrolls slow. Slow enough that it’s not really worth 2 seconds of my life to stick around.

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