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AMP's innovation isn't a way to make pages fast. AMP is a way to sell other stakeholders on implementing technologies that make your website fast. All the stuff AMP does is stuff you could do yourself without the extra request to amp.js and the extra work to amp-ify your pages.

But imagine you've got an advertising department that wants three different ad networks, a couple different managers that want to see stats from a couple different analytics platforms, and and the designer wants to load a font from fontsquirrel and another one from typekit and another one from google web fonts, and as a developer who wants to keep the site fast you have to fight them every single time they want to add something else that slows your site down. Having the same fight every time, with everybody else saying "oh, it's just one request. and this one is really critical" it's hard to keep fighting that fight.

It's a lot easier to say "i can't do that, it doesn't work in AMP". If you can find a better way to convince large organizations that page load speed is a valuable metric, and more important that whatever other resource they want to load today, I'd love to hear it. But from what i've seen, AMP is the only thing that's had any success in tackling this problem.




This. AMP was a blessing for me honestly. I can now maintain a version of our new site that isn't bogged down with tracking and flavor-of-the-month JS feature garbage.

I've been fighting against adding additional tracking forever, but constantly get railroaded by marketing because "they're the ones that know how to make us profitable."

Fundamentally I hate what it means for the internet, but I finally have a little power to say "no we can't do that."


It is astonishing how hard it can be to internally sell any kind of web quality features to management in both for profit and non-profit organizations.

There is also a real herd effect. Many people will do whatever Matt Cutts tells them because they think it will be good for their SEO. Yeah right. Some of the people who are good at SEO either went to work for huge brands or quasi-competitors of Google (like about.com) that might have some ability to bring Google to anti-trust court; most of the others switched to paid advertising once they figured out that Google won't let you win at SEO.

Certainly people who write for Spamium (aka Tedium) are the ones who try herd-following methods of getting traffic and they tend to be impressed when they get 100 hits on their blog.


One technique I've seen work well for getting bosses to care is showing them how much slower their sites are than their competitors - nobody wants to be worse than their competition.

In SpeedCurve, for just around $8/mo per page/site you can set up daily synthetic checks for the business and its competitors, covering multiple profiles: mobile/3g, tablet/4g, desktop/fibre.

You can use both the metrics (Start Render, SpeedIndex, Hero Paint) [1] and the filmstrip videos to literally show them how they compare side-by-side [2] – this is super-powerful as it's so visual.

Disclaimer: I don't work for SpeedCurve, just a fan of the tool.

[1]: https://speedcurve.com/features/synthetic/#benchmark [2]: https://speedcurve.com/demo/video/?tests=180102_1T_d12fa882f...


> schwinn: were the filmstrips enough to convince them, or did your bosses want to see numbers/stats like how many were dropping off your site for each x-seconds of delay?

There are some great stats on bounce rate / abandonment on WPOStats: https://wpostats.com/

This is my favourite:

> 53% of visits to mobile sites are abandoned after 3 seconds according to research from Google's DoubleClick.

One thing to note, to those stakeholders who are aware of web traffic stats, is that if a site uses client-side analytics (e.g. Google Analytics) and it hasn't loaded the analytics script by the time the user abandons the site, they won't be tracked, so the bounces won't be affected – it'll be like they were never there.

So ultimately, bounce rates in analytics tools can typically be significantly worse than reported when web performance is poor.


> One technique I've seen work well for getting bosses to care is showing them how much slower their sites are than their competitors - nobody wants to be worse than their competition.

were the filmstrips enough to convince them, or did your bosses want to see numbers/stats like how many were dropping off your site for each x-seconds of delay?


I sometimes feel like I should sell a consultancy selling EVaaS - External Validation as a Service. :)

I've been fortunate to spend my career working at sane companies, but I've talked to so many people who were in situations where management wouldn't listen to their own staff, but then turned around and listened to (and implemented) the exact same recommendations when they were made by a consultant.

I know there are often valid reasons for this, and external validation can be important. But it sure must be frustrating as hell to see your company pay $25+k to receive a list of recommendations you already made.


Management consultant here; this is literally what I do probably 50% of the time. Our buyer has a strategy they want to implement, so they hire us to help them sell it to their boss. Usually we improve them of course; but our buyers can generally handle this stuff on their own -- their bosses don't trust them, and want someone else on the hook.

Trusting subordinates who are incentivized to fudge the numbers is very difficult. Most people won't outright lie to their boss to get ahead, but they will make a bad business proposition look good to the point they genuinely believe it themselves. Leadership is hard.


I'm sure some of it can be contributed to the management itself. If you hire and trust people, and then fail, you failed when hiring and trusting them. If you use a consultant, it's very easy to shift the blame without taking any yourself.

That is mostly a problem if the people above the management are the same. For a sane company with good leadership, failures are a learning experience that makes you better.


>It is astonishing how hard it can be to internally sell any kind of web quality features to management in both for profit and non-profit organizations.

In my experience it's next to impossible. We have a bunch of inefficient bloated legacy shit that barely works and we spend most of our time bug fixing. Yet we keep adding to it while hiring more and more people to fix the increasing amount of bugs.


Why not provide the bottom / top line impact of page optimization? Your business’s profitability is the most important thing to your bosses. They do not care about making the web good, nor should they IMHO. Your job is to show why both parties’ incentives are actually aligned, not opposed.


Death by a thousand cuts. Everyone wants to add just one little resource, until you end up with 8MB pages with 20 seconds time to interactive. They can all make a plausible argument for how their one little resource will improve the bottom line, even considering the performance impact. If you have one person or one team responsible for performance, they're constantly fighting on all fronts just to stand still. You need a business-wide performance-oriented culture, which is very difficult to develop and maintain.


"You can add your just one little resource, but unfortunately the loading time goes over the limit - you need to identify other resource(s) that can be removed first."


Hard performance targets can work, but only if you have full buy-in from management. If you don't, someone is going to persuade a higher-up to make an exception just this one time and the whole thing falls apart.


You" need a business-wide performance-oriented culture, which is very difficult to develop and maintain."

How about customer-centric culture? One where UX is #1, and not out of sight?


perhaps I've been unfortunate but everyone I've met who markets themselves as UX are people whose job seems to be to say how will the customer understand this design, how is the customer workflow, and do not give a damn about performance at the level needed to achieve the improvements being discussed here.


I'm a dev and I understand the frustration of multiple resource load and the bandwidth burden it imposes but also as an entrepreneur and business owner, I see the need for metrics when making a sales pitch.

> Your job is to show why both parties’ incentives are actually aligned, not opposed.

This!

It's your job to do just that because of your vantage point i.e. you're able to see everything more broadly than anyone else. Understanding that all the stakeholders in your organization are doing something important that allows everyone to have a place to come to work to tomorrow is critical for you as the engineer.


> It's your job to do just that because of your vantage point i.e. you're able to see everything more broadly than anyone else.

It sounds very good on paper but it doesn't really work in practice because devs are generally not recognized as important decision makers in product design, despite said "broad vantage point".

From there, it's a rather thankless uphill battle of the "no good deed will go unpunished" variety. It's a very misaligned situation.

The need for metrics is another way of saying "I don't trust you", which may be understandable to a degree but stakeholders should also understand that not everything can be measured, and that measuring things in a manner that is both accurate and useful is very hard. I'm skeptical that metrics have more value than the word of a seasoned engineer on a project. We don't have very good results with measuring other vague things, why would software development be any different?


> I'm skeptical that metrics have more value than the word of a seasoned engineer on a project.

That's a rather odd statement to hear from a dev (or developer advocate) because I've always heard fellow engineers talk about how data is more important than opinion. Why is this an exception?


> "Your business’s profitability is the most important thing to your bosses."

I think the UX is the most important thing, without it (i.e., a good one) there is no profit.

In 2018 bosses involved in web - directly or indirectly - should be well aware of this. At this point in time the web dev's job should not be to "fix" those above them. There's plenty else to do and keep up with qithout having to add risking their career to the list.

And few if any freelancers are going to speak up. Which is all the more reason the decision makers should understand the implications of their decisions.


I agree 100%. So instead of saying “The web needs to be good! We need to spend time (money) on this!” Say “I ran an A/B test and the top of our funnel had an X% higher conversion rate when the page loaded in less than Xms. Here are my ideas for what analytics to cut to get us under that number. It’ll take some work but our funnel will improve and there’s an added benefit because all execs will view a unified report, which will ensure that all future business decisions are made with one standard set of metrics. This is win win win!”


Content sites get traffic from google / facebook / etc and then monetize it. Unless the site is so bad that people just close the tab rather than read the article, usability doesn't matter. You're only going to get one page view anyway.


Is Tedium worse than Medium?


> This. AMP was a blessing for me honestly. I can now maintain a version of our new site that isn't bogged down with tracking and flavor-of-the-month JS feature garbage.

That doesn't sound like it relieves you of maintaining a bogged down version of the site, it just means in addition to maintaining the bogged down version you have to now also maintain the amp version, and keep them consistent.


Yes, and execs will give you more budget to maintain the additional site, which they're encouraged to do due to Business Deals or whatever they read on LinkedIn.


Can you simply replace AMP with GDPR?


Nah, blame the EU for all of those pop-over ads that you see on sites like Tedium. You first saw pop-overs to harass people abut cookies as required in the EU, thus everybody learned how to make pop-overs and pop-overs were legitimized because they aren't just advertising but something perceived to be required by regulation.


> You first saw pop-overs to harass people abut cookies as required in the EU

That's a rather a-historical way to describe that. The various cookie notifications used what was already common code to implement it since most people didn't want to spend much time on what they saw as a formality.


It's more to do with declining ad revenues. GDPR has a role to play, but so do ad blockers.

You're making nothing at all from 20-30% of your visitors, because they're blocking ads. If you're actually following the GDPR, then your average CPM for EU users has tanked because you can't track them and can't serve targeted ads without an explicit opt-in.

Your average revenue per page view is declining, so what do you do? More aggressive ad units and more of them. Popovers and interstitials aren't new, they're just becoming more widespread because many publishers are starting to get desperate. Your bounce rate will increase, users will eventually learn not to click your links, you'll push even more people to use ad blocking, but none of that matters right now because you've got revenue targets to hit.


Sure, blame the EU for trying to stop companies from keeping your contacts, pictures, location history or whatever just because you signed up to write a review or comment an article.

If companies can't manage to offer their service without exploiting your data and have to blacklist Europe, that's a win to me.


But is it worth the cost of forcing all EU users into not even having the option to use said service for data?

Thankfully, I don't live in the EU because I would be super pissed about all the websites blocking me because the EU no longer wants to give me the option to trade some data for a free service and I expect it to get a LOT worse once they start actually enacting fines and every company realizes that that they have really been force opting in people to data collection so it is no longer profitable to serve the EU.

In my opinion, it would be far far better to force companies to offer a "fair price" paid service in exchange for not collecting data (I'm 100% for taking them to court if they misrepresent the value your data provides so they don't overprice it forcing people to choose the free option). That way, I can choose to keep getting my free service in exchange for data and you guys can pay to protect your privacy. Does this option sound reasonable to you?


> But is it worth the cost of forcing all EU users into not even having the option to use said service for data?

Pretty much everything you stated here is completely wrong. GDPR states that personal information can only be collected on an opt-in basis. Your entire statement therefore is completely off.

Because it has to be freely opt-in you cannot just do an opt-out.

> In my opinion, it would be far far better to force companies to offer a "fair price" paid service in exchange for not collecting data

The GDPR doesn't force to use anything for free.


> GDPR states that personal information can only be collected on an opt-in basis.

I said "use said service for data" which means all or nothing, no ability to use a service and selectively decline the exchange of data that makes the company you are exchanging with money.

> The GDPR doesn't force to use anything for free.

I didn't say anything about that. I just don't like that free online content like the la times is now blocking all of the EU because their business model is incompatible with GDPR and so I would prefer if the law still allowed EU users the choice to accept said business model, or use one that contributes revenue in proportion to the old one so their business model works while also satisfying your wants. Does that make sense/sound reasonable?


I have no idea what you're talking about.

I think you should at least know the basics of the topic you're discussing before leaving nonsensical comments.

Everything you're saying is completely wrong.


What is wrong about it?

> not even having the option to use said service for data

Companies are blocking all of the EU because of GDPR which is denying them the "option to use said service for data". Here is one list so far: https://gdprcasualties.com/

> Thankfully, I don't live in the EU because I would be super pissed about all the websites blocking me because the EU no longer wants to give me the option to trade some data for a free service and I expect it to get a LOT worse once they start actually enacting fines and every company realizes that that they have really been force opting in people to data collection so it is no longer profitable to serve the EU.

I don't know of a single company that now gives users to opt into each data collection so if they actually start throwing down huge fines (which I fully believe they will based on their history), I expect it to get a lot worse.


Are you the sort of person who likes paying protection rackets?

Assuming (correctly) that web sites are untrustworthy data collection bandits, why should they behave well only because a user proved their submission (and their gullibility) by paying them?


> protection rackets

Didn't know what that was until you said it and still not sure how it applies.

> Assuming (correctly) that web sites are untrustworthy data collection bandits, why should they behave well only because a user proved their submission (and their gullibility) by paying them?

I think you are misunderstanding me. I love everything about GDPR except 1 thing and that thing is not allowing companies to tie providing their service in exchange for data so that they can make money because it denies people the CHOICE (key word here) of using said option.

I proposed an option (just pay for the lost revenue the company no longer makes) so that everyone still gets the option to use current revenue models, pro privacy people can pay their fare share for the service, and companies don't blacklist all of the EU for what a portion of the people want. What does not sound fair about that?


It's the other way around. The EU is blacklisting data collection bandits; their "revenue models" are unacceptable and therefore forbidden by law.


Bandits implies stealing which is disingenuous as you have the option to not accept their terms of using the website.

I'm curious, how do you propose to fund the web? Should every site now have paywalls?


> trade [...] for a free service

You cannot do that not because of the EU but because of basic logic.


maybe temporarily, but as soon as all the third-party js that slows down your site start advertising themselves as GDPR-compliant, that goes away.


Seems like it is more of a problem with how the company is ran than a positive of using AMP.


Just like every other issue in every company ever.


It's a problem with how almost every company is run.


> If you can find a better way to convince large organizations that page load speed is a valuable metric, and more important that whatever other resource they want to load today, I'd love to hear it.

Yes...do all the same things but without requiring Google proxy it. There are several things orgs will do to optimize SEO, conforming to AMP rules can be another. Gaming SEO is a concern for all SEO requirements so surely that's a poor excuse for proxying.

EDIT: But it did give me an idea on how to tell websites you aren't happy with something: https://github.com/cretz/software-ideas/issues/91


Just off topic. Love the software ideas as GitHub repo idea.


Am I only one who feels this is a modern-day reincarnation of WAP? We've been here a decade ago.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wireless_Application_Protocol


Yes, but this time you have to donate your soul to Google. Otherwise, your page will just rank lower. WAP didn't have that direct connection with Google search results.


Wow, this is one of those flips in perspectives that leaves me a bit dazed. Thanks!


Or slow sites could just die on their own? Is there really a need to try to force the issue? Can't users just get tired of waiting and start going to sites that don't make them wait?

Honest question

I hate needlessly heavy sites. I just avoid them. I'm also it a fan of AMP. I especially hate the URL is wrong and trying to share the correct URL is tedious


How many times have people tried to get sites to be lighter and failed? There is no evidence that we'd just end up with small sites naturally.


How is a user supposed to know which sites are slow in a search results lists? Mental list of bad domains to not go to?


Search engine puts a page speed icon in the result, or uses speed in ranking. Not tagging only sites that use the engine's own code.


> AMP's innovation isn't a way to make pages fast. AMP is a way to sell other stakeholders on implementing technologies that make your website fast.

There's a certain "theory of the firm" that says corporations exist because they reduce the overhead cost of operating certain enterprises.

Things like this -- along with the also oft-seen need to hire consultants to tell some people in your company to do what other people in your company already know needs to be done -- make me wonder if the limits of that theory are well understood.


"The Nature of the Firm" by Ronald Coase. He called it transaction costs. I ran across this while trying to grok one firm I worked at that managed thru over-governance, funding models, etc to maximize internal transaction costs to the point where it was easier to just hire external expensive consultants.


But you could still do that without amp.js. Google would just have to push a validator that checks whether a page is the AMP-subset of HTML and CSS, doesn't do any sync loading, etc. etc.

And then the engineer could point at validator results.


> It's a lot easier to say "i can't do that, it doesn't work in AMP". If you can find a better way to convince large organizations that page load speed is a valuable metric, and more important that whatever other resource they want to load today, I'd love to hear it. But from what i've seen, AMP is the only thing that's had any success in tackling this problem.

Have google results punish fat pages. Then we can say "I can do that, but you have to sign this the declaration accepting responsibility for our page hits tanking".


This guy. This guy has been there.




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