How can I test how a website will work on a slow internet connection?

UXAppdrawn Team | Published 19th September 2023
There is a handy developers tool in Google Chrome whereby, you can simulate different internet connections and experience your website through your customers’ eyes. Here's how...

You may have the most amazing internet connection in the world. Headquarters in Monaco perhaps? Your customers however, may not. It is not guaranteed - in fact it is highly unlikely - that your customers will have access to or be kitted out with the same premium broadband. Therefore, there can exist a disconnect. A customer will ring in or message to complain that your website is not loading, is super slow or not working. However, from your end all is well…

When designing your website, it is important to step into your customer shoes and really think about the user experience (UX). When one thinks of UX, things like ease of navigation and aesthetically pleasing designs spring to mind. One perhaps not so obvious - yet critically important - aspect to consider is your website’s design in terms of technical performance. One of the major players determining performance is loading speed.

In 2017, Google conducted research and found a clear correlation between slow loading web pages with a high bounce rate, ‘The probability of bounce increases 32% as page load time goes from 1 second to 3 seconds.’ A little reminder, the bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to any given website who then leave the site after only viewing one page. In today’s instant culture, people want things done yesterday; they ain’t going to be hanging around for aeons whilst your web page takes its sweet time to load! They will return to the search engine and try the next offering as Google’s research proved. Therefore, it is imperative that your website is the Usain Bolt of the internet! Okay, maybe it is not realistic or necessary to strive for world champion position but you get the point - it needs to load up fast!

So how do you know whether your website stands up and works well enough on different internet connections to yours? Well there is a handy developers tool in Google Chrome whereby, you can simulate different internet connections and experience your website through your customers’ eyes. You can use this tool to gauge whether performance speed is a pertinent issue for your website. 

How to test your website on different internet connections?

  • Go to the website you want to test.
  • Right click and hit ‘inspect’.
  • The developer box should appear on the right hand side of your screen.
  • On the menu bar at the top select ‘Network’.
  • Click the ‘Throttling’ drop down menu and select ‘Slow 3G.’
  • Click and hold your cursor on the refresh button and a drop down menu will appear.
  • Select ‘Empty Cache and Hard Reload.’
  • Look at the readings, or more simply, record how long it takes for your webpage to load.

You really want loading speeds to be less than 2 seconds. If, when you followed the instructions above and your readings exceeded that, you will need to think about making some adjustments to your website’s content in order to speed up loading times and optimise its performance. The possible adjustments that could be made are far too many to recount for the purposes of this blog. However, this is a topic we can return to and elaborate on in a future Tech Tip - watch this space! To give you an idea, here are a few, quick rudimentary suggestions of the most common culprits that cause slow loading speeds:

  • There are too many elements on one page.
  • Image and video file sizes are too big.
  • There is code that is not up to date or stagnant i.e. no longer being used but taking up space.
  • Too many plugins.
  • The server isn’t powerful enough to support your website.
Appdrawn Team | Updated 19th September 2023

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