Optimising for the browser

Google’s Ilya Grigorik, the BBC's Tom Cartwright and Nic Ford discuss the value of optimising content for different browsers

As bandwidth is increasingly an issue, with people using mobiles for accessing the web, it’s important that the BBC optimises its content, explains Tom Cartwright from BBC Frameworks.

Our human reaction time is between 100-300 milliseconds. That’s how quickly humans register change, regardless of whether it’s a web page or native app, notes Google’s Ilya Grigorik. There’s a break point around one second and up until that point the user is engaged. However, after one second you run the risk of losing that user if there is no response seen. To work around this barrier it’s key that pages are optimised.

"We're not talking about removing content from the page, we're specifically optimising for how the browser renders pixels on the screen"- Ilya Grigorik

Optimisation is about reducing the weight of pages, continues Nic Ford from the BBC Pre-deploy Development Tools team. This means less HTML, less CSS and less JavaScript, so that everything being sent to the device is small and going over fewer HTTP connects. He believes the biggest optimisation comes from the design and architecting. Nic's team are finding intelligent ways of only providing browsers with what they need according to their capability. So poorer browsers are delivered different components to the better browsers.