Beauty vs Bandwidth

Some visual flair, a bit of bold imagery and a beautiful custom font or two can be great ways of making your website enticing. Those elements bring trade offs though in the form of increased page weight and load time.

The great thing about a website is that it can be accessed anywhere, from a bucketload of different devices. It’s also a challenge because you don’t know what context your users are coming from.

Those design enhancements that delight someone in their office could be a source of frustration when your page loads slowly when they’re out and in a hurry. It is possible to detect devices and remove some of the unnecessary, heavier items from the page, but this approach isn’t perfect. An iPhone struggling to hold onto a 3G connection is a different beast from one connected to a good WiFi connection; so knowing what sort of device your user is on is only part of the story.

It’s important to consider everything added to the page as having pros and cons. Being too stingy with the page weight could lead to a boring design. Being too fast and free with image sliders, video and graphics could come back to bite you when a busy user on a bad connection gets frustrated and leaves.

The design needs to balance these needs.

New Website

It’s been quite a long time coming, but I have just launched a new website for myself. The previous site served me quite well and lasted almost eight years (120 human years).

The goals of this new website are to:

  • improve on the design
  • provide better information to potential clients
  • ultimately lead to more projects
  • (whilst also being easier to maintain)

The visual design brings the site into line with a branding refresh I did some time ago.

On the technical side I’ve built the site out with a custom WordPress theme and CMS development. WordPress is a massively popular open source Content Management System and is increasingly becoming the defacto standard for many of the client sites I’m asked to build. My development efforts here will translate well to newer skills required for client work.

I’ve also paid attention to mobile and tablet optimization, creating a responsive layout which will adapt to many different devices and screen sizes. Like WordPress, Responsive Web Design is also becoming the standard way to give visitors a good experience regardless of when and how they’re visiting your site.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the redesign.