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Why speed performance is becoming increasingly important
Tim van Schie
Tim van Schie
 3 Minutes
 Frontend
 26 September 2020

Why speed performance is becoming increasingly important

We have improved the speed of the websites of many organizations. In this series about performance we’d like to share our knowledge and experience.

Speed, also known as speed performance, is one of the most important properties of a website. This concerns the loading speed of the content and thus how quickly a visitor can use the site. That’s why we at Aviva Solutions have improved the speed performance of the websites of many organizations. In this series of articles about performance, we would like to share our knowledge and experience. This is the first part: what exactly is speed performance and why is it so important?

In the following sections, we’ll look at how you can improve the performance of your site by, among other things, smarter use of images, JavaScript, HTTP and content pre-loading.

More than page loading time 

When you think of speed performance, you often think of page loading time. But that term doesn’t cover everything. A page can still continue loading in the background, as long as the visitor can immediately start reading and using the page.

In determining the speed performance, we distinguish between two benchmarks: 

  • Measurable performance indicators, such as first contentful paint (after how much loading time something appears on the page for the first time) and time to interactive (after how much loading time the user can use the page). These indicators are defined by Google. 
  • The more subjective experience of the visitor, also known as perceived performance. You can improve this by displaying animations or dummy content while loading. This gives the visitor the feeling that he’s waiting for a shorter period of time. An example are so-called skeleton screens (see the image below for an example), which already give an impression of the layout with lines and fieDo you have questions or would you like to know more about images and performance? Call or email us, we’ll be happy to think with you. Do you have questions or would you like to know more about images and performance? Call or email us, we’ll be happy to think with 

Shared responsibility 

Good performance is the shared responsibility of many different departments within an organization. And depends on good cooperation between those different departments. The design can have a big impact on performance, but that doesn’t mean you have to shoot down a design for this reason right away. By working together, designers and front- and back-end developers can often come up with good solutions. 

Even the marketing department can influence the speed with just a small adjustment. For example by using Google Tag Manager or a piece of code to load an intensive external service via JavaScript. That can be a waste of the efforts of the front-end developer, who did his best to use as little JavaScript as possible to make the website faster.

Therefore, always remain in discussion with all departments. Not to say what is or is not allowed, but to look for the best and most efficient solution from the perspective of everyone's own field of expertise. 

Less and less patience 

Isn't speed performance the umpteenth hype in our industry? We don't believe so. A website that loads super quickly is the new standard. This speed is increased by (web) apps from large companies such as Gmail and Facebook. Because visitors are used to a certain speed from these companies. 

As a result, we expect more and more from websites and have less and less patience. If your site is not fast enough, visitors click away. And that, of course, has a negative effect on your conversion. That’s why we pay attention to quick wins in performance in our conversion optimization quick scans. These have a proven positive impact on your turnover. 

Another reason for the importance of speed is that Google is giving it increasing priority. In other words: the speed of your site affects your rank in the search results. You check your speed with Google PageSpeed Insights, where Google uses a mobile phone as a starting point. Not the fastest iPhone, but an older device with slower processors and older browser versions. They often have trouble with certain types of JavaScript and therefore have a poorer speed performance. The bar, in short, is high.

This gives you a good idea of the basics and why performance is becoming increasingly important. Do you have questions or would you like to know more about performance? Call or email us, we’ll be happy to think with you. 

In the following articles in this series, we’ll discuss our experiences with performance improvement in various areas: 

  • performance
Tim van Schie
Tim van Schie

Tim van Schie is a front-end developer at Aviva Solutions. He writes accessible HTML, CSS and JavaScript and works on interaction design. A real team player who, preferably using Agile methodology, shares new ideas and develops rich user experiences.

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