Interesting talk by Maciej Cegłowski: Website Obesity Crisis.
What do I mean by a website obesity crisis?
Here’s an article on GigaOm from 2012 titled “The Growing Epidemic of Page Bloat”. It warns that the average web page is over a megabyte in size.
The article itself is 1.8 megabytes long.
Here’s an almost identical article from the same website two years later, called “The Overweight Web”. This article warns that average page size is approaching 2 megabytes.
That article is 3 megabytes long.
If present trends continue, there is the real chance that articles warning about page bloat could exceed 5 megabytes in size by 2020.
The problem with picking any particular size as a threshold is that it encourages us to define deviancy down. Today’s egregiously bloated site becomes tomorrow’s typical page, and next year’s elegantly slim design.
I would like to anchor the discussion in something more timeless.
To repeat a suggestion I made on Twitter, I contend that text-based websites should not exceed in size the major works of Russian literature.
This is a generous yardstick. I could have picked French literature, full of slim little books, but I intentionally went with Russian novels and their reputation for ponderousness.
In Goncharov’s Oblomov, for example, the title character spends the first hundred pages just getting out of bed.
This seems good to keep in mind. It’s important, given recent developments such as Accelerated Mobile Pages project. How much cruft should there be on a page? When’s the last time you measured the loading size+time of your page? When’s the last time you did something useful about it?
Maybe this site is something to look at and think about?