In the spirit of the 30th anniversary of the first “.com” domain (symbolics.com), it is worth considering how much accessing a .com costs. Many designers spend most of their web time on desktops, where the Internet service is usually “flat rate” – a fixed amount per month.
In contrast, most mobile Internet access is metered, meaning that the more you surf, the more you pay. This is significant when we consider that:
- The majority of web traffic moves through mobile devices
- Consumers in “emerging” countries are buying smartphones and tablets, not desktops
What does it Cost?
Well, this year (2015) the average size of a typical web page broke 2 megabytes. This is an amazing rise from 20 years ago, when the average page was in the range or 40 kilobytes. More importantly, despite responsive design, many sites just “scale down” their websites for mobile screens, without changing the size of the download.
This means that mobile users download media meant for desktops, which has to be adjusted and compressed on the device, leading to even more inefficiency.
Measuring the Cost
The “desktop bias” of many web designers has made them insensitive to this aspect of web sustainability. Fortunately,Tim Kadlec has created a site that merges the bloatware data on websites with the real costs to mobile users throughout the world.
The actual tool is at:
This tool is a great asset to any Sustainable Web workflow. Running this test with existing designs will help the client understand why it is so important to put user experience above design layout. While WPO scores are helpful in understanding, the conversion to dollars and cents will put sustainability into perspective fore everyone.