The Numbers Behind HigherEd RWD

Yesterday Luke Wroblewski asked the interwebs about the average size of a RWD site. While I obviously can’t speak to the wider range of RWD sites, I do happen to maintain a list of HigherEd RWD sites. The numbers that I track are by no means the whole story when it comes to performance, but I find them interesting.

HigherEd RWD Sites: 54


I tested with a browser width of ~1200px. Load time is based on a combination of tests from SW Michigan and Northern Indiana. Distance to hosts could definitely be a factor.

  • Load Time: 3.501 seconds
  • Requests: 59.08
  • Size: 1.543 MB
  • CSS Files: 6.19
  • CSS Size: 94.12 kb
  • JS Files: 11.49
  • JS Size: 181.38 kb

Small Screen

These numbers were gathered using a desktop browser at a narrow width (~320px) and an iPhone 5 UA string to attempt a simulation of a mobile device. For this reason, “load time” should be taken with an extremely large grain of salt.

  • Load time: 3.092 seconds
  • Requests: 54.96
  • Size: 1.206 MB
  • CSS Files: 6.71
  • CSS Size: 97.19 kb
  • JS Files: 12.38
  • JS Size: 215.39 kb

Mobile Sites

Out of curiosity, I tried to find “mobile” sites for each of the 54 RWD sites in the directory, of which I found 23, to compare numbers. The focus here was on size, not load time.

  • Load Time: 2.05 seconds
  • Size: 180.16 kb

Last fall I gave a presentation at HighEdWeb where I challenged attendees to work toward getting the “mobile” view of their RWD sites below 500 kb (totally arbitrary number that I use as my max for I’m happy to say I’ve received comments from some of the attendees that they have decreased the size of their sites, and I know of others that are working to that end. I would love to see the average small screen size for this list drop below 1 MB (500 kb would be even better). There has been a lot of chatter over the past couple of days about “Performance as Design” and “Setting Performance Budgets” which is fantastic. It’s something we all need to keep in mind.


comments powered by Disqus