Performance

w3schools: The Ugly, the Bad, and the Good

w3schools logoFor the record, I don’t hate w3schools. Apparently, a lot of people find their website useful. And from a human perspective, I’m happy for their success. After all, it’s run by one or more people, just like you and me, who have to feed their families.

But with everything we know about SEO and web development best practices, their ability to remain at the top of search results and also be in the top 200 most-visited websites in the world even after Google has made so many updates to their ranking algorithms, baffles us all.

In this post I’ll attempt to analyze a number of things about the w3schools.com website, both good and bad (mostly bad) and see if we can’t learn a few things and draw some conclusions.

The Importance of Website Performance (Sources)

The Importance of Website PerformanceLately in some of my writing projects I’ve had to hunt down sources to demonstrate the importance of web page speed. Usually a quick Google search will pull up some pretty good ones, and I have a few others on file that I can refer to.

I thought I would put together a roundup of some of the ones I’ve been able to find. Web development bloggers, who are constantly promoting the importance of web page speed, should have these types of authoritative sources at their fingertips.

So consider this post the collective evidence for the importance of page speed. Posts are listed from oldest to newest.

Why Browsers Aren’t TVs (But We Don’t Care)

Why Browsers Aren't TV Sets (And Why We Don't Care)Last week Paul Irish coined a new term: TAFEE, which stands for Tiered, Adaptive, Front-end Experiences. The concept is nothing new.

It’s basically the prettier cousin of the concept of progressive enhancement, with a little bit of Andy Clarke thrown in for good measure. I won’t explain TAFEE here; you can read Paul’s post to understand the concept better, and to understand the reasons behind this approach.

The purpose of this post is to address a few of the comments on that article that were posted in response to the TV analogy that Paul used — which he borrowed from this slideshow by Nicholas Zakas.

Here’s a summary of the basic premise of this debate, and then my thoughts.

Is Your Brand More Important Than Your Website’s Performance?

Is Your Brand More Important Than Your Website's Performance?As much as we would like to turn a blind eye to the large number people using Internet Explorer and thus take advantage of CSS3 and HTML5 in all its glory, with certain projects, we really don’t have much of a choice.

If the traffic in a particular niche is IE-heavy, then you have to deal with that accordingly. If you go the Andy Clarke route then you may choose to use those new enhancements to the full, but allow a degraded experience in IE.

If you go the traditional corporate route, then you do everything you can to get IE to look and behave the same as the other browsers. That could mean ignoring a lot of new CSS3 and HTML5 stuff, or else it means filling in the gaps with scripts, hacks, and IE-only filters.

The Browser Performance Pickle

The Browser Performance PickleIf you’re starting to incorporate some HTML5 and CSS3 into your pages, then you’ve probably also looked into the possibility of polyfilling those features for older versions of IE.

Of course, you could instead opt for “progressive enrichment” and leave IE in the lurch while prettying things up for the newer browsers. That’s the method that Andy Clarke recommends, and it’s certainly a valid option.

But if for whatever reason (usually something political or the fact that the client demands it) you have to give IE a similar experience, then you face a very bizarre circumstance.