No, it wasn’t a typo. We’re talking about huge, Christmas-related animations that slow web pages down. We’ve come across a few this year, including a 640KB GIF that depicted snow falling over a static, photographic backdrop.
Sometimes, animated GIFs will be the right tool for the job. For example, they can be perfect for very small, simple animations, such as a spinning wheel. However, for banners that take up significant chunks of the screen, there are better ways.
To test the point, we tried a simple experiment – how would the performance of an animated GIF stack up against a CSS solution?
Simon Hearne, Technical Consultant
The setting could hardly have been better. Barcelona was a welcome change from the cold and damp that was England in November, even if it wasn’t quite as convenient as Velocity 2013 in London.
If you’ve attended Velocity before, you’ll know that there’s always a packed schedule, and this year was no exception. After the morning plenaries the sessions break off into different streams, leaving you with a few difficult choices.
It also left me slightly nervous. I was speaking (alongside Andy Davies) at 4pm on day one, and I couldn’t help looking at what else was going on at the same time. Presenting to a big crowd would be fine – talking to a few stragglers who’d got lost on the way to the coffee machine would be downright embarrassing.
In the event, I needn’t have worried. Our talk on third-parties was both well attended and well received. It also felt like we had touched a nerve – a lot of people are struggling to deal with third-party content. No matter how much effort you put into developing a great website, letting third parties on to it can undo all of your work on performance.
Traditionally, Cyber Monday (the first Monday in December) has been one of the busiest online shopping days in the UK. We were expecting our monitoring data to reveal a few spikes in load times, extra errors and outages as some sites struggled to cope.
However, it looks as though the big retailers actually experienced more disruption on the now (in)famous Black Friday (28 November). Apparently, the stampede of bargain-hungry shoppers in the UK’s high streets was replicated online.