Breaking the 1000ms Time to Glass Mobile Barrier

Pere Villega published on
2 min, 302 words

Categories: development

Mobile is the new king and HTML 5 allows developers to, at last, build once and run everywhere: tablets, phones, desktops…

Nothing controversial in that sentence, but unfortunately Mobile is still slow. And even if we see again and again that we should do mobile first when building a web site, that doesn’t seem to work. At east judging by the rendering time of a normal page in my smartphone. And page load time is money.

Breaking the 1000ms Time to Glass Mobile Barrier is an amazing video from Ilya Grigorik in which he explains how to prepare your website to it renders fast in mobile. Fast as in under 1s.

The video is completely worth your time, but as a kind of TL;DR some of the most relevant hints in it:

  • Render in 100ms feels instant, 250ms is the maximum for a good usability experience
  • Mobile leaves you 400-500ms for server and client processing due to network innate slowness
  • This means we have 100ms for server processing, 100ms for client processing and 200ms to download external resources and run javascript. Tight!
  • Reuse connections, do bulk transfers and compress data to fight the mobile network latency
  • Do progressive enhancement
  • Optimizing images for size is a must
  • Turn javascript async whenever possible
  • Inline the critical CSS (the one to render things above the fold) and load the rest asynchronously via javascript
  • Minimize the use of javascript, don’t use any in the critical rendering path, only after loading the page
  • Chrome has a critical path explorer to highlight the fragments that block rendering
  • Chrome can also audit the page for unused CSS styles

And with this, you can render your app fast.