The Digital Agency for International Development

Loband: Zambia

This is Thandi. She is a teacher in a high school in Zambia. She uses the internet to download resources for her class and stays up to date with teaching methods. She uses her mobile phone and can connect it to her laptop for internet access. The connection speed for Thandi is 256 kbps. Find out how Thandi might experience your site on her mobile phone using our loband simulator


Bandwidth 256kbps




Response times - what to aim for

1 1 second would be amazing
1 second keeps the user's flow of thought seamless. Users can sense a delay, and thus know the computer is generating the outcome, but they still feel in control of the overall experience and that they're moving freely rather than waiting on the computer. This degree of responsiveness is needed for good navigation.
3 3.2 seconds is average response time of an average site
According to Luke Weblowski. If you're site is responding around this time then you are doing well. This is an achievable response time and this would be a good aim to start with. The best approach here is to get some content loading within 2 seconds and load the rest progressively. Oh and optimise your images.
1010 seconds - users will be thinking about other things
After 10 seconds, users start thinking about other things, making it harder to get their brains back on track once the computer finally does respond. There are many ways that you could improve performance on your site. First look at your images - are they optimised? secondly look at scripts? do you really need the social media scripts on the homepage? you would be surprised how big they are.

Page file sizes - what to aim for

25 25 kilobytes would be amazing
If you can load the first 25 kilobytes of data in the first 2 seconds of loading then you're onto the right track as most people with access to the internet will be able to view your key content. Put the most important info at the top of the page. You can leave coloured boxes to mark out content yet to load and give visual interest cheaply using css.
75up to 75kB - incrementally load content
At 75k all key content should be loaded and you are aiming to incrementally load additional content. Ideally your whole web page would be around this size. 70-80% of a page's filesize can be removed through optimising images without visible loss of quality. You can use an easy online service such as picresize.com. The second easy way to reduce file size is by removing js scripts where they are not needed. Many CMS's come loaded with jquery on the homepage even if they are only used for an image rotator or to show and hide the menu. There are smaller libraries such as zepto or jquip which contain these functions at a fraction of the size. Social share scripts embedded on a page also add around 200kB to a page. If you don't need them on a page - can you turn them off?
1.51.5 megabytes - the average page size in 2013
According to HTTP Archive the average site is now 1.5MB big. 86% of websites serve the same files to mobile devices as they do to desktop users. In least developed countries more people have access the internet using a mobile phone than a land line. Making your homepage responsive so that it can adapt to any screen size will increase engagement. Using media queries to serve smaller images to mobile devices will reduce the download size and increase speed.