Lighter Web

The websites have been getting larger over the years. I think that the fashion for building so-called single-page applications and the resulting ECMAScript payloads have been important contributors to this trend.

Back in late 2015 Maciej Cegłowski pointed out that there was a problem with how the web works.

To repeat a suggestion I made on Twitter, I contend that text-based websites should not exceed in size the major works of Russian literature. (…) If you open that tweet in a browser, you'll see the page is 900 KB big.

That's almost 100 KB more than the full text of The Master and Margarita, Bulgakov’s funny and enigmatic novel about the Devil visiting Moscow with his retinue (complete with a giant cat!) during the Great Purge of 1937, intercut with an odd vision of the life of Pontius Pilate, Jesus Christ, and the devoted but unreliable apostle Matthew.

Later in his talk, Maciej offered an easily applicable remedy to the crisis.

I want to share with you my simple two-step secret to improving the performance of any website.

  1. Make sure that the most important elements of the page download and render first.
  2. Stop there.

Others have offered similar advice, using plain if at times abrasive language.

This is a website. Look at it. You've never seen one before.

Some have turned those emphatically articulated principles into entire hosting platforms.

It's worth noting that it doesn't take a lot of styling to make brut HTML pleasing to the eye.

You never knew it, but it's easy to improve readability on your site. Here's how.

Here's another piece clearly articulating those ideas.

A website that embraces Brutalist Web Design is raw in its focus on content, and prioritization of the website visitor.

Designing lightweight websites has some immediate benefits: shorter loading times, improved accessibility, and cheaper operations to name a few. But there are also long term advantages. Simple websites, with minimal dependance on ECMAScript, are also easier to archive, granting them longevity.