blog logo Going back to dial up

I recently visited Cuba. At first, I expected to be off the grid completely. This was mostly true, but I had at least a good hour or two online during my week visit.

The home where we stayed had dial up. What a blast from the past. Some of the memories and worries I had back then resurfaced as if they had never left. I was worried that someone would accidentally pick up the phone or an incoming call would disrupt my session. I gripped the mouse tighter.

Leaning forward, I anxiously waited for the site to load. I was on Facebook trying to login to my account. After 10 tries yielded a timeout, I was too frustrated to continue.

My host walked into the room and said, "No! You are doing it wrong. It will never load like that you have to go to m.facebook.com.".

DUH, visit their mobile site! Should have thought of that...Being a computer guy and all. Then I thought about it some more...No, I shouldn't have. Nor should anyone have to know this trick in order to get decent load time when her Internet speed is so low.

Here is the difference when I throttled my connection at home: 1.3 minutes vs 1.5 seconds when throttled.

Lastly, I checked the mobile site. The download size was better but overall the experience still wasn't great. Definitely room for improvement.

I'm not singling out Facebook. We all do it. We need to be more cautious about how big our pages are. Take a look at the graphic below. See all the hues of red? Those are connections below the global average speed (5.6Mbps).

World speed map Courtesy of Fast Metrics

Take away

Don't forget about the majority of people who have a slower connection than you. It took me experiencing their pain, to truly understand the importance of optimizing your site. I hope this post is a reminder to keep you web apps as slim as possible. Compress those images, minify js/css, etc.

In the future consider using DownlinkMax API property to better determine what content to send down to the client.