For the longest time, I’ve been known for my work in the CSS field. And
expectedly so: with a site called CSS Wizardry hosting well over a
hundred-and-fifty articles about the stuff, over sixty conference
appearances almost all covering the topic, and numerous
screencasts about it, it’s easy to
Over the past three years of consultancy work I’ve helped some amazing
people level up their CSS architecture, but there’s also
been a lot of other work that’s happened alongside it. With a great majority of
these clients, we’ve also taken a look at how their sites actually perform both
over the wire and on users’ devices. I’ve helped companies large and small focus
entirely on optimising performance, and it’s something I am very serious and
It’s something I am keen to do more of.
The State of Web Performance
There is a short list of people I whole-heartedly recommend for detailed
performance work and Harry is right up there at the top.
I feel like we have a problem: as technologies improve, tools are becoming more
costly; as connectivity becomes more ubiquitous, pages are growing heavier; and
as more and more people are coming online, the web is getting slower. It’s like
there are two workstreams flowing in opposite directions.
The people tasked with building websites and applications often forget that they
tend to do so in a bubble of wired connections and powerful machines, failing to
understand the real-world conditions in which people use their products. The
next Billion (with a capital B)
internet users certainly do not enjoy the
increasingly Westernised conditions for which we seem to build things.
The more I’ve traveled, worked with clients, or talked with developers, the more
apparent it has become that there is a skills and/or knowledge gap across
companies: from executive level, all the way down to development teams. A
conversation I had recently served to highlight this issue further. Whilst
discussing the intricacies of a certain performance (anti-)pattern, a developer
…let’s assume an 8MB connection and 50ms RTT.. It’s
exactly these lines of thinking that I want to help to change.
But! The good thing about being in this position is that it gives us a lot of
room for improvement. Let’s make it better.
We hired Harry to provide performance consultancy on a high profile and
highly trafficked website for one of Europe’s most recognised authorities. His
detailed and intricate knowledge […] allowed him to improve performance by
over 400% […] he managed to optimise and restructure things in such a way that
load times went from around 6.25 seconds to just 1.5.
Tom Faller, Parallax
All of this to say… In 2017 (and indeed beyond) I want to begin putting more
focus on my performance work. Of course—of course—I
will still be doing my usual CSS architecture work, but if you:
- want someone to audit your site’s current performance: it helps to know
where you’re at right now;
- need someone to explain the importance of performance to stakeholders:
convincing clients and managers about the importance of performance is hard;
- are an ecommerce company wanting to improve performance: speed and
conversion rates are very, very closely linked;
- would like performance training and workshops: enabling your team to make
websites fast, and keep them that way;
- or need any help at all with making your site, product, or app fast:
then we should talk.
You want it done; I want to do it.
Harry’s focused, practical approach allowed us to implement significant
changes which improved our user experience and overall performance
dramatically. I recommend him wholeheartedly.
Rich Fogarty, Concrete Playground