The speed of a web page can be attributed to lots of different factors but the key one is the overall page size. Over the last three years the average size of a web page has doubled surpassing the 2 MB mark and if the rate continues in 2017 it could be over 3 MB.
Why is web page bloat a problem?
Obviously the increase in page size has a big impact on how quickly we can access information when we are out and about. But what is often overlooked is the extra cost of browsing the web.
My monthly mobile data allowance and the UK average is 500 MB. This means without taking into account WiFi access I can view just eight pages (on average) a day without incurring extra cost. This figure gets even worse when you include the data used by apps.
Block ads, browse faster
Users are finding ways to stretch their daily internet ration by installing ad blockers.
In the UK ad blocking grew by 82% to reach 12 million active users in 12 months up to June 2015.
Perhaps at first glance the rise in ad blockers may seem unrelated to the increase in the size of web pages. But, an ad blockers key function is to remove content users won’t miss. According to a study by Tech Week you could save 40% of your bandwidth using an ad blocker and increase your battery life by as much as 21%.
I’m not supporting or condoning the use of as blockers but I do think their rapid adoption should set some alarm bells ringing.
As developers we want our websites to do more but this is impacting on how accessible they are. Web accessibility isn’t just about making your website easy to use for people with disabilities. It is about making sure you remove any barriers to access including the size of your web page.
Check the size of your favourite website by going to Pingdom Website Speed Test and let us know if you could survive with your daily eight page ration.
@peterbrumby, Digital Communications Manager for The Co-operative Group.