Toward Sustainable Loading

Welcome to re:loading, a new Medium publication dedicated to understanding and improving the state of loading on the web.

Why, you ask?

In short, poor loading performance is holding the web back, especially on mobile devices where the world is now doing most of its computing. DoubleClick reported last year that 77% of mobile sites take longer than 10 seconds to load, and the average load time is a staggering 19 seconds. Meanwhile, 53% of mobile visits are abandoned when a site takes longer than 3 seconds to load. You do the math — this is not sustainable.

But the causes of poor loading performance are many and varied, and the solutions are not always obvious. Is your site simply too heavy? Are your resources optimally bundled and compressed? Is your JavaScript taking too long to parse, compile and execute? Are you effectively using the browser’s caching mechanisms? Are third-party ads and analytics slowing you down? And the list goes on…

To make things more complicated, the answers to questions like these are not one-size-fits-all. The recipe for optimal loading may be different if you’re building a content-heavy site, versus a feature-rich app. Your target markets and business requirements will dictate the degree to which you need to optimize for extremely slow or flaky connections. Likewise, your best path forward probably depends on whether you’re starting a new project or looking to improve a large legacy app.

Sustainable Loading features we’ll be tracking by Addy Osmani

Finally, you’re chasing a moving target. Best practices for loading will likely change significantly over the next several years, as browser vendors continue to optimize various parts of the browser stack and introduce new features to help you manage the loading process.

Solving the web’s loading problems will take an ongoing Sustainable Loading movement, with commitment and coordinated effort from many groups, including business stakeholders, web app developers, framework and library developers, tool developers, browser vendors, CDNs and hosting providers.

Please join us by following re:loading. Even better, let us know if you’d like to add your voice. This initiative grew out of the Chrome team. We bring a particular perspective to the table, and we won’t be shy about sharing it — but we don’t have all the answers. We see re:loading as a public space where people from all of the groups above can advance our common cause by sharing news, data, analysis, case studies, opinions and advice.

Are you in?