Last year, a select few of the Bam Creative Team attended the annual web industry conference, Web Directions 2015 in Sydney.

While our team enjoy the different talks planned out by Web Directions organisers, there were two of them that I found interesting. The Website Obesity Crisis by Maciej Ceglowski and Real-life Responsive Web Design Development by Vitaly Friedman were two talks we attended on performance and user experience.

The Website Obesity Crisis by Maciej Ceglowski

The “Website Obesity Crisis” was a particularly humorous talk to conclude the first day from Pinboard founder and keynote speaker, Maciej Ceglowski. Ceglowski explains that as internet speeds increase, webpage size has also increases over time due to a number of influences, such as framework bloat, advertising, and excessively large resource sizes.

By comparing the sizes of websites to the entire works of Russian literature, he got us thinking are we doing everything possible to reduce the size of our websites?

William Howard
"If the images on your article look better as William Taft, maybe they’re unnecessary."

Load times can make all the difference to how users interact with your websites. It determines if they have a wonderful seamlessly, responsive experience, or a frustrating, half rendered, patience-grating one. All it takes is neglecting to optimise some images, leaving in some unused pieces of code, or not minifying files, to create the latter experience.

By being inclusive of people with all network speeds, you can ensure your users won’t get frustrated with your brand due to a slow-loading and unresponsive webpage. 

Real-life Responsive Web Design Development by Vitaly Friedman

Vitaly Friedman editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine gave a wonderfully applicable talk on “Real-Life Responsive Web Design Development” focusing on the performance and user experience of responsive sites.

Vitaly's talk
Listening to the talk by Vitaly Friedman


The fast-paced talk had us writing notes at a million miles a second, from real life responsive web design to CSS tricks for things that we’ve all scratched our heads over before along with some surprisingly good airport hacks, awesome advice on UX, particularly on designing interfaces not just forms, and the subtle shaming of a certain, you know who, not-to-be-named web browser, this entertaining talk truly had it all.

Summary

A key message taken away from the conference was “performance is everyone’s problem” and understanding how our decisions can impact performance and ultimately the user experience.

Website performance is one area where there are clear, measurable returns on investment, and most sites really aren’t paying enough attention.