14: PREVENTING SITE BLOAT

One of the objectives of LoBand websites is to prevent site bloat. Site bloat is easily recognized by various factors, here’s a partial list:
1. Multiple pictures and text blocks compete for attention on a slow-loading generic home page.
2. Small, hard-to-read text size.
3. Emphasis is on the amount of content.
4. Over-engineered with wasteful, unnecessary long or slow features, functions, and code.
5. The site is so overwhelming—it requires a search field function or bread-crumb navigation.
6. Has link clutter (more than 7 to 9 links) or uses drop-down menus.
7. Site visitors frequently call or send email to you looking for answers.

“Has your website become a whale?”
Companies grow. Product lines expand. Sites bloat. It’s assumed that bloat happens to all websites and therefore isn’t really a problem.

“Everybody’s doing it.”
Landing Page Optimization: The Definitive Guide to Testing and Tuning for ConversionsThis is poor visitor-oriented thinking. The average page weight is now 375K—up 5X from just a few years ago. With more viewers on highspeed connections, it’s assumed adding extras doesn’t matter. As of January 2010, 44% of American households are still on dialup modems.

Site bloat indicates you really don’t care about your customers or their needs. You may not say it directly but it’s implied. And they know you’re being rude with bad web etiquette. Site bloat is when your website has lost the practical values of simplicity and transparency. It’s now “in the way”, a cluttered impediment and liability to viewers.

WHY BLOAT HAPPENS?

  1. Fear of being perceived as insignificant.
  2. Designer is using templates.
  3. A common mistake is the belief a good site includes everything.
  4. Not using file compression.
  5. Feature creep.
  6. Details that never stop being added or tweaked.

“The worst reason site bloat still exists is apathy.”