Design for a Slow Connection


One of the ‘benefits’ of being out of the office a lot is that I get to experience the Internet through the eyes of a large percentage of the Internet population – those who don’t have broadband or huge office connectivity. My trusty Orange USB dongle is good for downloading email, albeit very slowly, even when I’m in densely populated areas. As a good example, I’m currently in Uxbridge, where I can only pick up GPRS connectivity, and in real world data terms, I’ve downloaded 5.6Mb of emails in 28 minutes. Skype is running slowly, MSN Messenger won’t connect at all, and Windows Live Mail has crashed, leaving a window in the middle of the page with only an OK box, that doesn’t work! To make it more annoying, I can’t even move the window out of the way!

It’s all too easy to forget a huge percentage of the Internet population accesses the Web at this speed. I’m not just talking about developing countries – but business users as well.

We work with creative agencies who are only too happy to provide Flash files and graphics that are well over 2Mb – which means homepages end up being huge. In those cases, we’ll often ask the agency to compress those offending files to make them smaller. The next time I hear of this situation, I’ll bring the designer out to Uxbridge with my laptop & ‘3G’ card and get them to download the file themselves!

0 thoughts on “Design for a Slow Connection

  1. I can give you two perspectives. In Oz the city networks are very advanced. My USB stick will happily download at 10mb/s (with a theoretical max of 20mb/s) which is as good as my ADSL was in the UK. The cable broadband networks will go up to 100mb/s. However here’s the strange thing. Broadband is really expensive here. Firstly I know people here who are still on dial up at 56kb/s and if you take out a broadband plan you get a data allowance which is quite small unless you pay big bucks. But if you go over your allowance rather than charge run on rates they immediately turn you down to dial up speeds for the remainder of the month, when it resets so you have to have a good idea how much you want to use per month.Why do I tell you this. In the UK broadband is very cheap and almost unlimited, but the more people who use it the slower the speeds become. This is what you were experiencing as broadband has become a base level service and very much taken for granted. Out here it’s still (very) expensive and usage per person is probably much lower which means higher speeds are capable.I’m not sure which model I prefer. I guess I’m lucky because I can afford broadband with the help of discounts from the company I work for and having come from the UK I couldn’t imagine life without it. But I guess for many here it is still prohibitive due not to coverage or speed but cost.

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