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Snooth User: Chris Carpita

Page Loading ... Fast Enough?

Posted by Chris Carpita, Nov 11, 2009.

I'm interested in hearing some of the experiences our users have had with page-load times. We've improved a lot since pushing our content to edge-networks, and lots of other little optimizations, but we'd always like to improve. Any thoughts?


Reply by dmcker, Nov 11, 2009.

I've noticed more peaks and valleys in loading speed the past few weeks. Sometimes fast, sometimes very much not. Overall, loading performance seems worse here in Tokyo than, say, six months ago....

Reply by dmcker, Nov 11, 2009.

On a separate issue, I just noticed that you've broken longer threads in this forum into 'pages'. Am curious what the rationale is for that. It makes it much more troublesome to scroll up or down a thread...

Reply by Chris Carpita, Nov 11, 2009.

As for the loading speeds, I'm not sure what could have hobbled it in the last 6 months, but it's possible that external references on the site have an effect. Please let me know if there are specific pages that aren't performing well.

Here are some rationales for talk pagination, among others:
1) For usability, it allows users to sample a conversation more easily so they can move on. Also, some users just want to post on a topic and continue, and their needs are better served this way.
2) A long forum thread can be hard on the web browser, and especially use a lot of bandwidth if people post lots of images.
3) A page-view is less impactful on our servers, improving load speeds for everyone else. In general we don't want "heavy" page hits on our site, to keep things running smoothly.

Reply by dmcker, Nov 11, 2009.

My guess was correct that you were looking to lessen server loads. I also understand about browser loading for those threads that have a lot of photos (the worst in my experience is that one on the most beautiful vineyards in the world...). Those are few and far between, though, and the majority of the threads that people actually interact with fall between 5 and 20 posted replies. As the thread develops people often interact with previous posts in the thread rather than the beginning post at top. Since your pagination is now chopping individual pages into only a very few posts it's hard to find the remarks someone is responding to without a laborious search through multiple pages. I'm currently finding it rather annoying to add the multiple-extra steps to the process of reading through and responding in a thread, and I imagine you will in effect be discouraging the reading-and-response process to some degree. So you have to weigh user ease against the other issues you mention. Even with fewer-photos-per-page, and thus a slightly faster loading speed for each page, it'll still take longer for a viewer to get through the whole thread split into multiple pages. At some point the 'life is too short for this' dynamic will enter into play.

Perhaps you could at the least double the length of each of your current pages. I vote, for what it's worth, to leave each thread unpaginated, or make each page a hell of a lot longer than it currently is.

I've noticed that Firefox has been having version issues the past few months so that may have caused a few of the slowdowns I experienced. Other issues in the network connections may have, too. I really have no way of determining. I just know that I've had more slow responses the past three months (not six, sorry for the typo) than the previous six.

Also, over the past week I've lost two forum postings that I thought I'd made properly evaporate 'into the ether', as GregDP might say. Hadn't experienced that on the forum (though it did occur for articles comments) for nearly six months. Also annoying to spend 20 minutes formulating a post and have it just disappear like that, though this is very much the exception these days....

Reply by GregT, Nov 11, 2009.

Have to agree with the page splitting. I don't know how it appeared back at Snooth, but scrolling wasn't really much of a problem at all for me. It would be nice if there were a "go to end of thread" button for people who just wanted to reply, but it's a pain to go back thru the various pages. If you need to do that, I'd vote for making them longer than they are now. But I gotta say, it's not an improvement from the user perspective.

Reply by Lucha Vino, Nov 14, 2009.

I find the page loading to be incredibly slow when accessing the site via my iPhone. The iPhone specific interface does not offer enough functionality to make it a viable subsitute for the full website.

Access speed via Firefox on my network at home is fine.

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