The most popular web performance posts of 2013 (so far)

I’m off for a couple of weeks of R&R. I’ll be back after Labour Day and fully charged up for what looks to be an action-packed fall and some very exciting news on the research and development front.

I’m leaving you with some posts to check out if you missed them the first time around. This is a roundup of the top ten most-read posts of 2013. Enjoy!

1. Web Performance 101: An opinionated guide to the 22 links every developer should read

If you’re new to the performance scene, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by how much there is to learn. This post is a highly subjective — but still excellent, in my highly subjective opinion :) — guide to the essential links you should check out.

2. More new findings: Top ecommerce sites are 22% slower than they were last year

In December 2011, the median load time for a site in the Alexa Retail 2000 was 5.94 seconds. Just twelve months later, the median was 7.25 seconds. At this rate of growth, this number could hit almost 9 seconds by the end of this year.

3. The average web page has almost doubled in size since 2010

According to the HTTP Archive, the average top 1,000 web page is 1246 KB, compared to 828 KB in May 2012. This represents a 50% rate of growth in just one year.

4. Are we optimizing our images like cavemen?

Images on the web are only going to get fatter, so we need to get a lot smarter about how we handle them. This includes embracing existing formats, such as WebP, that will make our images leaner, and developing new formats that can handle the emerging demands of retina displays.

5. Case study: How effective are CDNs for mobile visitors?

In a recent experiment, we noted that deploying a CDN shaved only 0.8 seconds from start render time for 3G users, raising the question: how effective are CDNs when it comes to mobile performance?

6. 11 questions (and answers) about content delivery networks and web performance

I frequently get asked how content delivery networks (CDNs) fit into the bigger performance picture. Here are the answers to the most commonly asked questions all in one easy-to-scan post.

7. The psychology of waiting (and 5 things you can do to make online checkout feel faster)

Americans spend an estimated 37 billion hours per year waiting in lines, so it’s not surprising there’s a large – and growing – field of research dedicated to studying the psychology of waiting. A trip down this research rabbit hole yielded some interesting insights about in-store versus online waiting.

8. Too fast? Believe it or not, there is such a thing.

While 99% of response time problems are still caused by the user interface being too slow, a too-fast UI causes serious usability problems, too. This post explains this problem and outlines six solutions.

9. Three web performance SLAs every site owner should consider

If we truly care about delivering a top-tier online experience, we need to consider creating solid service level agreements for our sites, our third-party content, and our cloud providers.

10. New findings: Typical leading European commerce site takes 7.04 seconds to load

We studied the page speed and composition of 400 top European retailers to see how these sites would load for visitors using Chrome 23 (the most popular browser in the EU at the time of testing). While the results may not be shocking if you’ve been paying close attention to this space, they may come as an eye-opener to online retailers in the EU.