Barely a week passes between a shockingly large website being launched to promote some sort of product or company. This week it’s Sony’s Be MovedApple’s Mac Pro or design collective Fictive Kin’s massive site or before it  we had the Oakley Airbrake all weighing in at significant double digit megabytes. Even Apple’s basic feature page for iPad is more than 6mb.

I do strongly believe in performance and optimisation, but I wonder more and more what a reasonable page size would be for sites of increasing complexity or with significant art direction like the ones above? It’s frustrating seeing so many of these sites miss out on even  basic optimisation before they’re deployed but even so, some of these sites are massive by any standards.

What can you do?

I don’t know that there’s actually much in between the performance freaks wailing about how they’ve got their single column, georgia font powered static blog down to 100kb and doing significantly more art directed experimentation like the stunning Apple Mac Pro site which I think does nicely balance scroll hijacking with beautifully rendered graphics and animation.

What’s reasonable?

Can you make something like the Apple Mac Pro site in less than a meg or two? Does it become an exercise in diminishing returns commercially trying to optimise the hell out of something to squeeze it from 10mb to 8mb? Would you set a definite upper limit on how big a site could be no matter how visually complex or detailed it is?

Edit for clarity: I’m asking about upper size limits on complicated/visually rich sites like the examples above, not sites in general. Please vote based on sizes for those sites, not just sites in general.

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I’d love to know what you think is acceptable in the pursuit of captivating visual design?

James Young

Written by James Young

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