The Whole World Isn’t On Broadband, Yet

One of the clients I work with is in Alaska (which prompts all kinds of comments like, “do you run into moose on the way to work”). Where I’m at here, it’s just like any other town in America. They have a Wal-Mart, a Best Buy, an Applebees, and a TGI Fridays, which means you can get chain food just about anywhere in the world.

For the most part, though, the broadband connections aren’t.

Using my Verizon Wireless card on the computer sends me back into dial-up time, and worknig with this client, we’ve estimated that we have to act like the site’s designed in 1998 from a page weight perspective to make it acceptable for end users, because most of them are on ISDN-level DSL.

So why does this conversation matter?

Even if they are using 3G for their iPhone, consider the end device or end connection speed. Of course if you are in a business environment, you’ll get more leilency over that issue, but for public websites, you don’t know where the users will be coming from. There’s a certain group of the user base that will never move off of dial-up (I’ve heard the quote, “you know what, it’s fast enough for me”), and you should design your pages as such.

Major League Baseball’s site does just that — they have a narrowband and broadband version. I had never seen the narrowband version because my connection at home is smokin’ fast, but here, it was a great substitute to downloading HD Video.

You don’t have to design your site like Craigs List, but do consider how much weight is on the page.

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