Generally, when we talk about user experience design, we use it interchangeably with user interface design. Although related, these two approaches to interacting with the end user are two completely different animals.
The user interface of any product whether a physical object or a web site is an integral part of the overall user experience, but designing the user experience goes beyond just this one aspect. When designing a web site, there are number of technical considerations that need to be made when improving a web site or web-based application. Web site responsiveness is a huge factor in the usability of website and one that is many times ignored by web designers.
There are a number of techniques that we can use to compress the size of files use by a website. Here are just a few:
CSS Sprites - Combine commonly used background images into a single image and use CSS to display different areas by changing the background position. A small portion of every file is used to tell the browser or operating system what type of file it is, when it was created, etc. That file header information can start to accumulate when you're using 10-20 graphics. For every image you can combine into a sprite, you can drop roughly 1-4k from your overall download footprint.
A first time visitor to your site must download all the hidden files needed to display your site, but once all those files are downloaded, they most likely don't change very often. You can reduce the number of HTTP requests to your site by adding caching controls to your web server settings.
On the server side, you can set expiration policies for file types with known change rates - such as images, scripts and CSS files. This tells the end user's browser who long a particular file will be cached. If the browser can tell that it doesn't need to update the file, it won't send a request.
Content Delivery Networks (CDNs)
The closer a user is physically to the server sending the content, the faster the response time. So, deploying your content across a geographically diverse network can greatly increase response time. Private CDNs are the domain of large internet companies. For everyone else, there is Akamai, Edgecast, or other such services. Though these can be pricey, the ROI for websites or web applications with large numbers of users can greatly benefit from this approach. Google and Yahoo! allow the use of their content distribution networks for things like jQuery and other AJAX components
Minimize DOM Access
Once a browser loads all the HTML, CSS, images and scripts for your website, it combines it all into a single document object model or DOM. AJAX components like jQuery or Mootools access and alter the DOM to enable their functionality. The more often these scripts have to touch the DOM, the harder the browser has to work to produce the effects.
For information on these and more best practices for improving website response times, visit these sites:
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