There is a huge and ever-widening gap between the devices we use to create the web and the devices most people use to use the web. It’s no secret either. The average size of a website is huge, and it will be bigger.
What can you do about this? raise your hand Crabtop Try using a website or web app.
Crabtops are inexpensive devices with low internal power. To offset the cost, all sorts of third-party apps are often pre-installed. It’s a resource-intensive and hard-to-remove virus scanner-like app. they are everywhere, and they won’t go away anytime soon.
When working through a website or web app, keep the following in mind:
- items that load slowly,
- If the load is too slow to use
- Not bothering the load at all.
After that, make a plan on what to do with it.
At the time of this writing, the most common devices used to read CSS-Tricks are powerful and modern desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile phones with modern operating systems and rich computing power.
Of course, not everyone who makes websites and web apps read CSS-Tricks, but it’s a very popular industry website and I’m sure your visitors can represent a larger whole.
In terms of performance, the qualities you can see on these devices are:
- powerful processor,
- ample amount of RAM,
- lots of storage space,
- High-quality display, and most
- high-speed internet connection
Unfortunately, these characteristics are not always found on the devices people use to access content.
British soldiers who served in World War I Brody Helmet, a steel cap designed to protect the wearer from overhead explosions and debris during trench warfare. After deployment, field hospitals saw an increase in soldiers with serious head injuries.
Due to the increasing number of casualties, British Army command considered a return to helmet design. Fortunately, the statistician points out that hospital cases have risen dramatically as people survived injuries that could have killed them before the introduction of steel, which used felt or leather for the British military to make their hats.
Survivor bias is a logical fallacy that focuses on those who have gone through the selection process. In the case of pitching, the key is whether you are alive or not. For websites and web apps, whether or not people can load and consume content.
Lies, damn lies, and statistics
Anyone unable to load a website or web app will not appear as a visitor in the analytics suite. This is simple enough.
However, the “use” part of “load and consume content” is important here. There is a certain percentage of devices attempting to access a product that is loadable enough to register a hit, but the experience is so horrendous that it can’t be used effectively.
Yes, I know the analysis can be more sophisticated than this. But in terms of survivor bias, is this behavior acceptable for the data?
It’s easy to go out and get a cheap laptop and feel bad about a slow website you can’t control. The two real problems here are:
- Third-party assets, such as analytics and CRM packages, that are used to determine who is using the product and how to use it. You have no real control over the quality or amount of code you add to your site, and it’s difficult to set up logic to block loading your own third-party resources.
- These are the people who direct you to add these 3rd party assets. These people are usually unaware of the performance issues caused by the question or don’t care because they are not part of the outcome being judged.
What can we do about these two issues? Bundling abstract, one-time business requests into something more holistic and personal.
I know of an organization that does things like “Tuesday tests” where a moderate usability test is done every Tuesday. You can do the same for performance. You can even apply this idea to an existing usability test plan. Slow websites are eventually unusable.
The point is to establish a regular cadence to see how real people actually use your website or web app using real devices. And when I say real world, make sure that the analytics report is not an average version of what it says.
Then make sure everyone is aware of these sessions. It’s powerful to show managers who try to get what they need but can’t get because of their organization’s choices.
There are approximately 260 working days per year. This is your 260 chance to build empathy by having someone on your development, design, marketing or leadership team use the Crabtop for a day.
You can run Linux on the Windows subsystem to run most development tools. Most other apps I know of in web authoring have a Windows installer or you can run them in your browser. That should be enough to do what you need to do. And if you can’t or it’s too slow to finish at the pace you’re used to, that’s the point.
Claptop duty combined with usability testing using low-power devices should be enough to have a hard conversation about what your website or web app should actually load and why.
Last but not least, it’s easy to think that the existence of low-power devices is equivalent to the existence of economically disadvantaged people. That’s not true. A powerful device can be slow due to several factors, depending on the situation. Wealthy individuals can and are using low-power technology.
Perhaps the most important lesson is that poor people do not deserve inferior experiences no matter what they try to do. A high-performance, intuitive and accessible experience on the web is for everyone, regardless of device, ability or situation.