Why web pages can have a size problem

Hi, this is David from Datawrapper. This week, I write about a topic we care about a lot at Datawrapper: load times, and how to reduce them.

When working at Datawrapper, we spend a lot of time thinking about web performance. Everybody hates to wait, and having bad performance means a website visitor needs to wait longer before the content they want to see becomes visible or interactive.

Since Datawrapper’s visualizations are embedded on many websites worldwide, it’s worth trying hard to make sure they are fast and performant. Just a small increase in load times will, across millions of readers and their devices, quickly accumulate to many hours of aggregate time spent staring at a screen and waiting.

While both internet connections and devices are getting faster every year (thank you, Moore’s Law!), there’s another trend that counteracts this: web sites are getting larger.

Measuring the weight of a website may seem a bit strange at first, but it refers to an important concept: how much data needs to be transferred from the website to the device in order to display content? And since this amount has been steadily increasing, devices and data connections are used more heavily when surfing the web, compared to just ten years ago.

But fortunately, there are ways to counteract this: with good engineering practices and various technical tricks such as minification, tree-shaking and bundling, as well as using performance-oriented technologies such as Svelte, we can make sure visitors get the best of both worlds: rich, interactive content, with modest amounts of data transfer and fast loading times.

That’s it from me for this week! Next week, you’ll hear from our customer support & success specialist John. Thanks for reading!