Mind The Gap Test

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Download Speed Measurement

When designing websites, keep in mind that not everybody uses broadband (cable or adsl/dsl), even nowadays. A recent story (September 2009) raced a carrier pigeon against the internet in South Africa. The pigeon carried a USB stick full of data. It won by a very large margin.

Sometimes a graphically appealing website can also become a tedious waste of time to view if the viewer has only a very limited internet connection. Testing a site for access in this way is not too difficult and can help a designer find flaws in a given design.

This test is offered in addition to the Evaluate your YWAM website article.

Simple Bandwidth Test

Testing methodology for Bandwidth Test:

  • Using Firefox 3.5.x
  • Disable Flashblock and Adblock extensions
  • Install Y-slow and Firebug extensions
  • Clear cache and restart Firefox.
  • Use ip_relay to throttle to 5000B/s (eg ./ip_relay.pl -b 5000 12345:www.ywamkb.net:80 requires Perl to work).
  • Change Firefox network proxy settings to 127.0.0.1 port 12345 for http. Then point Firefox to http://www.ywamkb.net and you are back in the 1990's! (stop ip_relay and restart with another url to check a different site. Note, sometimes it struggles to make the connection)
  • Use Y-slow to time pages
  • Note date and time of test
  • Pages to time: Index page, about page, latest news page, contact/faq page and one other major heading (mostly DTS). Time to 1/10th sec only.
  • Average all 5 pages.
  • Comment
  • Clear cache before repeating...
  • Clear cache and remove proxy. Time site load (note time of day too)
  • Note general spec of machine (in my case a P4 2+Ghz laptop with 1Gb Ram), although almost irrelevant as this makes minor difference to such a low bandwidth test.
Site Date Time Index Page About Page Latest News Page Contact/FAQ Major Heading (eg DTS) AVG Page Load Comment Time and Duration Normal
Comparison Table of Well Known Websites
en.wikipedia.org 21/9/9 21:56 71.2 45.7 26.8 23.3 (help) 18.7 37.1s Pictures were not loading (diff server?) so might not be accurate! (22:23) 3.1s
news.bbc.co.uk 21/9/9 22:09 106.0 22.5 Latest News (europe) 53.1 37.0 Special Reports 40.1 51.7s Graphic heavy site! (22:23) 4.0s
Site Date Time Index Page About Page Latest News Page Contact/FAQ Major Heading (eg DTS) AVG Page Load Comment Time and Duration Normal
Comparison table of YWAM Websites
ywamkb.net 21/9/9 12:00 32.3 1.8 2.7 FAQ 10.4 YWAM Websites 3.0 10.0s Subsequent pages are <3 secs if no images. Caching on first load. (17:21) 4.3s
ywam.org 21/9/9 16:40 28.5 (about/what is/founder) 9.7 (about/stories) 5.2 Contact/Intro 7.6 Get involved DTS 14.1 13.0s Graphic heavy but well optimised (17:20) 1.8s
ywambrussels.be 21/9/9 16:54 39.3 4.5 (summer news) 21.8 (see comment) 19.2 (dts) 6.0 18.5 Same server as ywamkb.net. First page is flash heavy. Contact info on all other pages in /en section so taken that time (17:18) 1.77s
ywamafrica.com 21/9/9 22:16 51.4 10.9 (calender) 9.9 (Staff Lounge) 27.9 Click a Region (North) 13.6 22.7s Retest (variance of 5-10% est. noted) (22:22) 1.4s
ywam.eu 21/9/9 16:46 97.4 (what is YWAM) 7.6 (GLT day 1) 12.3 1.4 (what is DTS) 7.8 25.3s Heavy first page with lots of css and javascript (17:20) 1.1s
uofn.edu 21/9/9 17:02 44.7 (where to begin) 30.3 (Academics and Admissions) 52.0 (U of N Catalog) 8.1 (ARTS) 49.3 36.9 No about, contact etc so other pages chosen. Lots of small graphics for labels, but different color scheme per page. (17:18) 1.29
ywam communications .org 21/9/9 17.10 213.9 (Other/ about us) 46.4 (Resources/ News & Events) 36.9 50 (Tutorials/ Comm. basics) 11.3 71.7s Some graphics loaded from another server perhaps causing timeouts. Very large photos. (17:18) 6.1s

Note: Unusually YWAMKB performs poorly when browsing at full speed! (2nd slowest overall). General testing of YWAMKB.net under normal speed seems to indicate 2s response times except for some special pages which require longer processing. Query - would boosting memory or processor improve things? Also sorted today(and tested) were gzipping content to browser for all text content.

Note: English wikipedia results unlikely to be accurate as this proxy will only load from one server. Thus many timeout errors will give a high response time.

Note: ywam.org performs very well for a site that includes lots of graphics and flash etc. The pictures are optimised well and after the first load are retrieved from the browser cache, thus speeding up the site.

Note: ywamafrica.org uses strong css to provide speedy layout and text labels without loading large graphics. But the very pretty pictures slow the site down a lot. Although if you turn them off it would still look quite nice!

Language Support

Even when English has evolved to a sort of general language in YWAM, many will feel themselves more at their ease reading in their mother tongue. Additionally, every language has it's own culture: metaphors (e.g. ...) or emotion-expressing words may not be translated literally.

Sites that include multiple languages are to be valued very highly. Especially if they are very complete in the translation.