It used to be that images and animated elements significantly impeded load times, and static pages were the go-to for website design. Advances in internet bandwidth speeds, coding languages, and device hardware have allowed us to evolve from a static experience to a dynamic one, and we believe the internet is a better place for it! Images and animations are a great way to create a novel and engaging experience, but tread carefully, as they are also are easy paths to clutter and distraction.
At ULG, we believe subtle animations are an excellent way to produce a comfortable and dynamic aesthetic design. One larger animation supported by more understated hover or glow effects make a better overall impression than many overt, whirling animations that pop and spin around the site. There is certainly a time and place where those can succeed, but in most cases: less is more.
Speed and Optimization
Just as users have little patience for unintuitive navigation and design, slow load times are something users won’t put up with either. With the advances mentioned in the section above, users have become accustomed to high-speed connections, and if you don’t think slow load times are really that significant an issue, think again. According to studies done by Google, every extra 500 milliseconds in page load time lead to a 25% decrease in searches. And Amazon found that they experience a 1% decrease in sales for each additional 100 milliseconds in load time.
Speed may not be number one on the priority list, but it can absolutely impact lead generation and conversions. So what can you do about it? The folks at Crazy Egg have a great, comprehensive list on how to go about this, but we suggest the following highlights:
- You can start by using Google’s free service to get a better understanding of your website’s page load speed. Google also offers suggestions for improvement based on their analysis.
- Choose the right hosting options for your needs. Going with the cheapest hosting option is an easy first-instinct reaction for many site owners, but we recommend doing your research and going with a host you can trust!
- Enable compression. The smaller your files, the faster your pages will load. There are many software applications out there for doing this. Gzip is probably the most popular, but Bzip2 is an alternative.
- Reduce image sizes. We mentioned in our point above that animations and images are a great way to improve a website’s aesthetic. If you’re using lots of images and animations then image size and compression will be an important factor to consider. Don’t just upload large, high resolution images to your site and then adjust the size parameters. Find out the dimensions you need, then crop those images down match using a photo editor.