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Designing for the Developing World
zulufox

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8858 posted 2:03 pm on Jun 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

I am working on a website for a NGO. This organization works on development in the the third world.

This website will be read not only by Europeans and Americans but also by Indians and Africans.

Right now I am struggling with a design which looks but also is very fast loading.

I was wondering if anyone has any tips for designing to low end connections.

 

vabtz



 
Msg#: 8858 posted 3:06 pm on Jun 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

nothing mind boggling or earth shattering

use text only
use mod_gzip on your server
use stylesheets
make sure you fail well if style sheets are not supported ( I read that lots of people overseas are using 4.0 type browsers )

zulufox

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8858 posted 3:21 pm on Jun 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

I am using Drupal for the site.

Drupal offers a cache feature whihc can be turned on or off.

For some reason the site breaks when I have BOTH the cache feature on and gzip turned on.

So I have to choose one or the other.

Should I choose the Cache feature or Gzip.

vabtz



 
Msg#: 8858 posted 4:56 pm on Jun 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

I assume the cache feature you speak of is to cache your templates on the server side.

Does your site get bogged down when the cache feature is off?

If not then I would choose gzip.

Matt Probert

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8858 posted 6:20 pm on Jun 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

I was wondering if anyone has any tips for designing to low end connections.

Yes. Visit your target countries!

Seriously, your average sub-saharan (and north African), third world African does not have their own PC, modem and telephone line! Rather, they use a very cheap, local cyber cafe which doesn't use a dial-up line either!

It never hurts to understand the culture you're helping to destroy - er I mean help - either.

Matt

2by4

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8858 posted 8:24 pm on Jun 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

Use a single stylesheet, keep it small, 8 kB or less. Use no images for page layout unless absolutely necessary.

Read Brett's advice, 26 steps, reread the page size advice, follow it.

Test it on a dialup modem, make sure to clear your browser cache each time you check the load speeds. Aim for first view load times of 5-8 seconds, for all of it. That's not that hard. Once css is cached, along with any necessary layout images [use the same ones for the whole site if you have to use images for layout, so they can get cached] aim for page loads of 1-3 seconds, not hard if templated html is clean, full css.

Internet connection speeds in the 'developing' world should be assumed to be very slow, I read once that I think uganda had somewhere around the total bandwidth of I think a single high end cable connection here. Might have changed since then of course.

I'd target a decent user experience at 33 kb per second connection speed, that's not very difficult to achieve if you reject any and all eye candy from your design.

But it can still look very pro and clean without all that junk.

Above all though, NEVER use images for navigation, especially mouseover type images, total waste.

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