The Readable Future

Brent Simmons:

Readers are smart, and they love to read, and they’ll go where they can read, and they have more and more options.

Some of those options where they can read: Flipboard, Instapaper, Readability, the Reader button in Safari, RSS readers, etc. These tools and services do one main thing: They strip distractions out so you can focus on reading. The following example of obese pages on TheNextWeb is but one example why readers have been seeking the options aforementioned.

Joshua Cody’s tweet:

Need a warning when @gruber links to @thenextweb – 452 HTTP requests, 3.12MB, 1 minute to load, repeated Badgeville (what?!) errors.

John Gruber responds to Cody’s tweet in the excellently titled "Regarding TheNextWeb’s Shit-Ass Website":

One article at TheNextWeb weighed in at over 6 MB and required 342 HTTP requests. 73 different JavaScript scripts alone. Absurd.

The folks at TNW must have tweaked something because I loaded that "one article" and got 51 requests and 234KB transferred. But it still took 1.7 minutes for that one page to completely load. A random post on Daring Fireball required 14 requests, 12.36KB, and 785ms. That’s more like it. I was of course curious as to how my site performs. Random post: 2 requests, 3.58KB, and 285ms. Not too shabby, but not too surprising since DisplayBlog is the result of a singular focus on eliminating everything unnecessary so readers experience distraction-free reading.


How long it takes to load the page is part of the reading experience. Bandwidth is not free, and not universally fast.

Strip down unnecessary crap and let readers read without distraction. Save readers time by reducing the time to load pages. And save readers money by reducing bandwidth.