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Improving initial display of a slow loading page

making a page that's slow to load look more visually attractive

     
12:29 am on Nov 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I have a page design using CSS that puts the source code in order, with the main text content first, and navigation last.

By necessity, this page will take about 3-5 seconds to return data (regardless of connection speed) and displays the various components the visitor has requested one by one on the page in the main content part of the html.

Unfortunately, this means the navigation section and certain design elements do not display until the rest of the parts of the page has loaded, and this looks very ugly.

Does anyone know of a way I can overcome this issue? I prefer displaying the parts of the page as they are loaded, because this gives the visitor something to read through while the rest of the content is loading. I could dump this idea altogether and display some kind of loading screen, but I'm not too keen on that idea.

1:34 am on Nov 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



If the unique content must take 3-5 seconds no matter what, then that's what you have to live with, I think. maybe you could consider what kind of text you could put at the top of the page that isn't dynamically generated.

Also, the major search engines today are pretty good at seeing what are site-wide elements (the template, in other words) and using the page-specific content in a more focused way when they generate search results. In other words, the benefits of moving the content "high in the html" are not what they once were. So you might also consider loading the menus first, while the data query is running.

9:24 am on Nov 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Also, the major search engines today are pretty good at seeing what are site-wide elements (the template, in other words) and using the page-specific content in a more focused way when they generate search results. In other words, the benefits of moving the content "high in the html" are not what they once were.

I was not aware of that - very interesting.

I might tweak my template to load a few of the pages ad banners before the content in future, could have a positive impact on income without significantly affecting SEO.

11:04 am on Nov 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Thanks for the suggestions Tedster.

consider what kind of text you could put at the top of the page that isn't dynamically generated.

The content side of things is fine - visitors get something to look at immediately. I'm just being finnicky about the look and feel :P

consider loading the menus first, while the data query is running.

I actually didn't order the source for search engines (i'm paying little direct attention to them on the site in question). The reason for the ordering is because I think a 'skip to navigation' link is better than a 'skip navigation' link for accessibility purposes. Perhaps I'm wrong in this thinking.

I guess I'm left with a few choices:

- Try and improve the look of the half loaded page as much as possible
- Use some kind of horrendous iframe-style workaround (ugh)
- Redesign (grr)
- Some other kludgy workaround (javascript?)

I suppose I should try and evaluate how much impact the look of the unfinished page has - it could be that I'm paying too much attention to it as I'm looking at the site so much.

 

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