Improving Web Page Load Time: Discussing CSS, Performance Optimization, and Lazy Loading Techniques

The State Changers in this meeting focused on the performance and loading speed of a web page being developed. The team navigated some complexities, mainly tied to CSS and JavaScript, while exploring techniques to reduce user perception of delay and complex data loading processes.

One of the participants was facing difficulties with loading a CSS rich page, which resulted in noticeable delay – affecting user experience. This participant's original approach was to incrementally load and display aspects of the website, aiming to decrease the initial loading time. Key advice from another participant proposed that it might not be beneficial to worry too much about performance early on. Instead, he suggested focusing on recognizing where the main slowdowns are, like network transactions, then solving these issues strategically. Using the developer tool 'waterfall view', they analyzed the dependencies and relative durations of the page's load sequence to elucidate the main contributors to the delayed loading time. They highlighted Google's performance assessment tool, Lighthouse, as a valuable tool to help identify how to increase site performance. Furthermore, they emphasized caching data to increase speed and reduce network transactions, as well as leveraging the 'defer' tag in script tags to delay script execution until the HTML document has finished parsing. When performance cannot be improved significantly through technical means, an alternative approach discussed was to use user interface tactics - specifically, transition screens or 'interstitials'. Citing Zano's use of an initial flashing image and YouTube's 'skeleton states', they demonstrated how these methods provide an illusion of faster loading to the user. Another solution mentioned was increasing memory management limits, or alternatively, caching JavaScript files using GitHub if memory limitations are a concern. The meeting wrapped up with the reaffirmation of the next meeting scheduled for Thursday. Additionally, participants were encouraged to post their issues on the ‘Ask for help’ section to foster collective problem-solving. Overall, this meeting discussed ways to optimize website performance and user experience, with a special emphasis on CSS loading, JavaScript programming, and user interface tactics. It can be beneficial for professionals looking to address website loading speed issues, and those interested in creating more responsive user interfaces. Keywords discussed: CSS, JavaScript, User Experience, Page Load Time, Waterfall View, Google Lighthouse, Caching, Zano, Defer Script Tag, Github.

(Source: Office Hours 2/1 )

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