I saw a tweet by a good chum and colleague, Mariko, about testing on a range of low end devices keeping you really grounded. The context of the tweet is that we are looking at what Web Development is like when building for users who live daily on these classes of devices. The team is doing a lot of work now in this space, but I spent a day build a site and it was incredibly hard to make anything work at a even slightly reasonable level of performances - here are some of the problems that I ran into:
I was in China a couple of weeks ago for the Google Developer Day and I was showing everyone my QRCode scanner, it was working great until I went offline. When the user was offline (or partially connected) the camera wouldn’t start, which meant that you couldn’t snap QR codes. It took me an age to work out what was happening, and it turns out I was mistakenly starting the camera in my onload event and the Google Analytics request would hang and not resolve in a timely manner.
Eric Bidelman on Google Developer’s Web updates, writes: Building for the web is a rocky adventure. It’s hard enough to build a top-notch web app that nails performance and uses all the latest best practices. It’s even harder to keep that experience great over time. As your project evolves, developers come on board, new features land, and the codebase grows. That Great Experience ™ you once achieved may begin to deteriorate and UX starts to suffer!
Page Speed Insights for Mobile launched the other week. It’s a tool that analyses your site in the context of a mobile device and tells you what you need to do to improve the network performance of the site. In about an hour I had taken 3 seconds off my blogs page load time by removing JS files and adding Caching (doh!) and crunching PNGs (double doh!), going from a score of about 34 to 84.