Obsession with Optimization

If not an obsession, then I have a passion or fixation for optimization. To get something as small or as fast as possible. I hate to see any kind of resource be squandered; money, water, space or even CPU cycles and it brings a smile to my face to see that someone has solved a particular problem efficiently.

To that effect I almost gagged when I got an email which had a 30k signature image of the companies logo in a bit of colour. The width and height of this image is indicated below.

As a comparison, the standard Google logo is only just over 7k and over three times the area.

This same wastefulness can be seen in web pages. The worst page that I have seen in a while is that of South African cellular services provider MTN. Their landing page weighs in at over 80k and has barely over one screens worth of content. I have listed a few pages and their respective sizes below.Now granted you should also take the images and other media into account when comparing the relative sizes of web pages, I have only looked at the HTML here. Also these pages vary in terms of their content and indeed their function, but the point I am trying to make is that when designing anything for mass consumption there are a lot of things that need careful consideration, not least of which the size of your content.

Why do I care about these things? Maybe it is because I come from a bandwidth starved country, maybe I am a little bit crazy, but to me it is like seeing bits drip out of a digital tap. Surely you would want to make sure you are not wasteful. Make sure all your designs work as efficiently as they possibly can while keeping in mind that a good solution today is often better than a perfect solution tomorrow.

This might be why I find some of the TED videos so inspiring, go and have a look here.


Garren said...
March 27, 2009 at 1:15 PM

I agree, its really just laziness on the web developers part.

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