User Savvy

Book review: "Speed Up Your Site"

"Speed Up Your Site" would have been personally useful if it were "Speed Up Your Writing Time." I've had this book on my desk for a few months now, read but not critiqued.

That disclaimer aside, I fully enjoyed the latest book by Andrew King. It's full of tips and tricks for novice and veteran Web designers and developers, any number of which make for useful implementation.

The foreword positions "Speed Up Your Site" to be a logical technical evolution to simplicity evangelisms like Steve Krug's "Don't Make Me Think!" "Page size and complexity are the real satisfaction killers," writes the oft-quoted Jakob Nielsen, and King spends the rest of the book showing how to minimize the impact of once-heavy Web pages and sites.

The suggestions range from simple, obvious solutions (minimize time by maximizing page flow utility) to complex, for-developers-only ones, like gizpped compression for even smaller download times. I can personally vouch for King's notes on minimizing HTTP requests and excess whitespace within code; in one initiative at The Economist, we reduced home page weight more than 25 percent by cleaning up server calls and linefeed-heavy ColdFusion output.

Some of "Speed Up Your Site" is rather straightforward, like the JPEG compression tips that most of this book's audience already understands, and the section on search engine optimization seems off the subject. Overall, though, the book is rich with ideas and reminders. More importantly, many of its concepts are style agnostic, meaning the book will have a decent shelf life. This is an accomplishment in a world where books on usability become outdated once their screenshots are 18 months old.

Web designers and developers actively publishing and revising sites would do well to own this book, and refer to it as the finishing touches are placed on about-to-launch works. Usrs will notice, and they will be thankful.

David Wertheimer, April 9, 2004
Is your site user savvy?
User Savvy Business Solutions improves how firms interact with their customers online.


How do we do it? Learn more about our strategy, usability, branding and design work


About us

Contact us

Copyright © 2004 User Savvy. All rights reserved. Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional.