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Minimize Initial Display Time to Improve Perceived Web Page Speed

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  simonstl's Photo
Posted Oct 29 2009 05:11 PM

You can improve the perceived speed of your web page by loading something useful fast.

For example, the Weather Underground home page displays the weather search form quickly in the top-left corner of the screen (see the image below, "Weather Underground loads useful content first"). Unlike other weather sites that require different elements to load first, Weather Underground gives priority to the most important part of the page first so that you can find the forecast for your area fast.

You can ensure that your useful content (i.e., content that users can navigate with) loads quickly by layering your tables or divs.

Weather Underground loads useful content first

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Multimedia can also benefit from fast start techniques. Flash presentations can load a separate file quickly while others stream in the background. Movies can load a static placeholder image or preview to show something quickly to help engage the user. QuickTime Pro lets you set up a movie to start playing from a web server before the movie has completely downloaded. This is called a "Fast Start" movie (see the image below, "QuickTime Pro Fast Start movie").

QuickTime Pro Fast Start movie

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Web page optimization is not only about raw speed, but also about managing your users' experience.

Website Optimization

Learn more about this topic from Website Optimization.

Is your site easy to find, simple to navigate, and enticing enough to convert prospects into buyers? Website Optimization shows you how. It reveals a comprehensive set of techniques to improve your site's performance by boosting search engine visibility for more traffic, increasing conversion rates to maximize leads and profits, revving up site speed to retain users, and measuring your site's effectiveness (before and after these changes) with best-practice metrics and tools.

See what you'll learn


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