|Heavy Home Page|
Can I keep it....please?!
I really should know better, but I recently added a big navigational image to my home page. The image plus html probably totals about 30kb, bringing my home page (including featured products, navbars, etc.) up to a total of about 70kb.
I usually do my best to accommodate the bandwidth challenged, but this new image serves an important function. In a single glance, it tells the visitor exactly what we sell and how to navigate our increasingly complex site.
I know I will lose some users as a result of my big home page, but I know it will also bring more users deeper into the site. Has anyone out there measured the tradeoff between page size and abandonment? I'm trying to predict the net effect.
For reference, my customers probably fall somewhere in the middle of the road when it comes to high-speed access.
70k is not so bad. You might want to try some A/B testing to see which group (one sees image, one doesn't) stays on the site longer.
I also agree that it is not super big. More and more people are getting faster dail up services or getting fast access like DSL or cable. I don't think you should worry.
I think if you need a darn big image to tell people how to surf the site, you don't need a new image, you need to hire an information architect.
The image is complementary to the core navigation -- sort of like a search field or a 'shop by brand' feature. The information architecture is fine.
30k just for navigation? yikes!
If you're trying to predict the net effect, you can do a quick usability test, or do A/B testing which shouldn't take long either. An outside person might also be more apt to pin-point IA issues- it's too easy to fall into the trap of thinking our sites are easy to navigate when we've been using them for so long.
You could also look at technical ways to reduce that 70k total- better use of CSS, putting the JS if any in an external file as well, optimizing the page to use fewer/smaller images and cleaner html... it's usually possible to shave 30% without too much effort.
You may have done so but make sure your homepage image is optimised too. You may be able to shave a few k by experimenting with the export options in packages like Photoshop or Fireworks.
70k all in is not too great for a homepage but I wouldnt push it past this.
Bear in mind that if your main traffic is from the search engines a lot of your visitors may enter from a 'deeper page' within the site.
You can buy specialized JPEG compression programs that
does a much better job than the ones that are built into Photoshop and other Image Processing Programs.
Make sure you get one that has regionalized compression and allows real time viewing of results.
I managed to reduce my image size by a further 40% with very little noticable change in quanitity.
Do a search for JPG compression on google. The program I used is from a company called Pegasus Imaging Corp.
I got my home page down to 60K from 80K. 40 to 50K was considered the max, but the 55% of the people in the US with dialup has become a little more tolerant.
[edited by: DaveAtIFG at 4:17 am (utc) on Sep. 7, 2004]
I have a page that loads up at over 100K. It's not my index, it is my primary widget page. It's bookmarked by a lot of people, and so in a sense it *is* my main page. That 100K is not an image, but instead database query results. It loads anew every time the page is accessed, since I haven't figured out how to cache my results. You will (probably) have your image cached, reducing load time for your return visitors. In addition to image optimization you might look into cache control.
I'm sure a few people don't hang around while my page loads, but far more stay than leave. It's common for me to see 5 or 10 page loads, followed by my "Thank You" page after a completed transaction. I have done everything I can to optimize the page in every other respect, but as long as we keep adding widgets this page will only get larger.
Can I keep it....?!
Obviously, keep an eye on the performance. The answer to your question lies in how many visitors continue on into your site.