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Designing for Sustainability by Tim Frick

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Chapter 6. Performance Optimization

What You Will Learn in This Chapter

In this chapter, we will cover:

  • Why optimizing performance is a critical web sustainability component.

  • Techniques for creating better optimized digital products and services.

  • Workflow tips for assessing performance.

Performance Counts

Can digital products and services find the perfect balance between speed, reliability, and sustainability? In an interview, Chicago-based developer Eric Mikkelsen brought up this point about the dichotomy between them: “Speed and reliability are interesting because sometimes those things are opposed to each other,” he says. “Building a website that takes advantage of techniques for tomorrow yet requires a fallback for yesterday increases the size of our codebase.” So where does the perfect balance lie?

Several years ago, Amazon calculated that a page load slowdown of just one second could potentially cost the online retailer up to $1.6 billion in annual sales.[140] Similarly, Google noted that slowing search results by a mere four-tenths of a second would cut down search volume by eight million queries per day, depriving them of the opportunity to serve as many or more ads and resulting in a direct loss of potential revenue. There are many examples like these, and losses don’t just take the form of customer revenue either. Netflix, for example, saw a 43% decrease in its bandwidth bill after enabling GZip, a common file compression tool.[141] It is clear that better performance yields ...

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