Shreya Bose, Technical Content Writer at BrowserStack - May 15, 2022
As always, the basic question is the best place to start. But before we jump right into it let’s try and understand the importance of page speed score as a website’s speed is one of the most critical factors contributing to the overall experience. To ensure that any website is optimized for intuitiveness and cross-device compatibility, it’s imperative to reduce page load time.
While these frameworks do help make websites more appealing and functional, they also require adding more assets (stylesheets, scripts, videos, images). Each of these assets consumes a certain measure of resources on user devices – GPU, CPU, memory, and network.
Obviously, more resources add up to a sluggish, lag-filled, and essentially frustrating user experience. It doesn’t matter how attractive or functional a website is, no user will stick around for a slow website.
1. Minify, Compress, Distribute
Remember that internet bandwidth is finite, and latency inevitably occurs when data has to be transferred over long distances. But there are a few ways to reduce this without changing the code.
- Minify the code with a tool like Closure Compiler, JSMin, or Uglify. Minification reduces the code size without compromising any of its functionality.
- Distribute static assets with a Content Delivery Network (CDN) that can serve website visitors from a place closer to them geographically. This helps reduce the latency that may occur when browsers download website assets.
Note: While these are industry-standard practices, they can be forgotten during software development because the network issues would not be noticeable if the website is being developed on a high-speed connection that most organizations tend to provide for developers.
2. Parse, Compile, Execute
- Parsing reads the bytes of a script received by the browser and generates an internal representation of the script structure.
- Compilation takes this internal representation and generates machine code that can be directly run by the processor.
- Execution is the process of actually running the generated machine code.
Now, as mentioned before, the nature of the user’s device has a significant effect on their experience. Not everyone is accessing the internet with a high-speed connection while using a top-of-the-market MacBook Pro or the latest iPhone. Device power varies immensely, especially with mobile devices.
Learn More: UI Testing: A Detailed Guide
Testing Website Speed on Real Devices
Obviously, developers won’t be expending effort and time on optimizing websites if it isn’t slow and user-unfriendly. On the other hand, if a website is slow and losing users, it must be sped up on priority.
Must Read: 3 Reasons Why Website Speed Matters
However, instead of waiting for traffic to fall before investigating if page load speed is low, use a tool to test website speed before it is released into production. Additionally, as explained earlier, the same website can load fast or slow on different devices because of the device configuration itself. Therefore, it is mandatory to run a website speed test on a tool that uses real devices.
BrowserStack SpeedLab provides exactly that. When a user enters their URL, this free tool runs a speed test of that website across multiple real browsers, devices, and operating systems. The resulting report will show not just how fast (or slow) the website is, but how it fares in terms of speed across multiple real desktops and mobile devices, as well as multiple browser versions.
With BrowserStack, you also get quick actionable recommendations and insights to improve on.
Speed tests run on SpeedLab generate accurate results, every time. Developers and testers can monitor their website status before and after making optimizations, thus making it easier to track progress, streamlining their efforts, and bringing efficacy into the development cycle.