Keep it lean

As I’m writing this post It’s currently the hottest day of the year. Trains have ground to a halt at Manchester Piccadilly, there’s a national Cornetto shortage and my Mac feels hot enough to griddle a quarter pounder on.

The hot weather reminds me how important it is to try and stay fit and keep my weight under control. There’s nothing worse than going about your daily routine in searing heat when you’re carrying excess weight, it slows you down and makes you feel really sluggish. With this in mind I’ve decided to head back to the local swimming pool to try and lose a few pounds.

Websites are not that different. They can be prone to excess weight and getting the right balance of aesthetics and usability whilst keeping a site lean and fast takes a great deal of skill and experience.

As the web has developed we’ve seen a rise in the use of lightboxes, sliders, full screen images, web fonts and animations and they’re all becoming mainstays of the average website. But although the web has never looked better a lot of sites do feel unnecessarily bulky and slow.

This week I was pointed to the Pacific Grand Prix site which was built way back in 1995, when HTML, the language that underpins every web page, was in its infancy. The site is very simple and it looks dated but despite a few broken links it still works properly and it delivers its content with the minimum of fuss.

I’m not for one minute suggesting we go back to designing stripped back 90s style websites but we do have to be careful not to allow the latest techniques and tools to get in the way of delivering our content, which is after all the real purpose of the web.