Streamlining your web pages
This document contains guidelines to help you design pages for your XSite that load quickly and capture your reader's attention.
Document 7017 ¦ Last updated: 09/06/2017 RR2
You can add as much content as you like to your XSite — and that's both useful and dangerous. When you're designing a website, less is more. And, you need to prioritize these two points:
- Viewer Attention Span — How much information your reader can take in before they lose interest, and how much clutter they're willing to sift through to find important items.
- Page Load Time — The amount of time that passes from the moment someone clicks on a link before it fully displays on their computer.
Keeping this in mind, here are some specific items to consider.
- Amount of content
- How much text you should put on each page depends on the type. There's a distinction between content pages — articles, blog posts, or other in‑depth information — and landing pages such as your home page. Content pages should only contain actual content, and can be as long as necessary.
- However, critical landing pages like your home page should be short and sweet. The goal for these pages is to convey the information you want within one or two screenfuls of information. A screenful is the amount of information that viewers can see from top to bottom of their display. If your reader has to scroll down more than once, they often lose interest.
- Number of pages
- There are only a handful of pages on your XSite that you really want visitors to read. If users are faced with too many choices, they're less likely to identify — and click on — the pages you want them to see.
- There's no strict rule of thumb for the total number of pages. But, you should organize them so the most important links are near the top of your site navigation. Click here for instructions on this.
- Graphics and photos
- Images require far more bandwidth to download than plain text. Most modern digital cameras and phones take pictures at a high resolution, so photos are the biggest culprit. Speed up load times by limiting the number of images on a page, but more importantly, make sure that the images you use on a page are optimized for web viewing. Click here for some tips.
- Dynamic Content and other page elements
- Every XSite page can contain a number of additional elements beyond the text and links you place there. This includes client data capture forms, RSS news feeds, and embedded dynamic content. As a general rule, you don't want to add all three of these items to any one page.
Obviously, these are only guidelines, and there are exceptions to every rule. The bottom line is to design your site with your reader in mind. Always test your pages to ensure they "pop up" quickly. If possible, try this on the slowest machine you can find. You want to plan for even the most technologically‑challenged site visitors.