Canadian Expert Makes 2012 Predictions in Web Space

Joshua Bixby, president of Vancouver’s Strangeloop, has offered the world his 2012 web predictions. Below are shortened paraphrases of his predictions; check them out in full on his blog, Web Performance Today.

1. The average web page will surpass 1 MB in size.

The average web page grew 30% in 2011. Pages have grown at a rapid rate since 1995, when the average page size was just 14 KB. We’re going to see sites grow by at least another 30%, taking them well over the 1 MB mark—a number that would have blown our minds 10 years ago.

2. Site owners are going to demand more transparency and control over third-party content and scripts.

Scripts are the fastest-growing area of page growth. In just one year, scripts have grown by 50%, from 115 KB to 172 KB on the average page. Poorly optimized third-party scripts can slow down page load by several seconds or even stall it completely. As site owners become increasingly educated about the importance of page speed, they’re going to start demanding that scripts be properly optimized to either load asynchronously. 

3. Chrome will become the dominant browser.

We’ve seen Internet Explorer and Firefox slowly dropping in popularity while Chrome’s popularity has been rising steadily. Right now, IE is still dominant, but Chrome just passed Firefox. We’re going to see Chrome’s numbers climb sharply.

4. Windows is going to surprise us on mobile.

Everyone thinks it’s an iOS/Android world, but that could all change when we see Windows 7 embedded in the next wave of Nokia devices. Windows 7 might not be a game changer, but we’re going to see it become a contender in the mobile universe.

5. Mobile consumer behavior will continue to evolve as mobile users’ expectations grow.

Marriott recently reported that 47% of their mobile bookings happen on the same day as check-in. Users have developed the expectation that they can book on demand and on the go. Mobile users expect 100% availability and quick response. They won’t return to a poorly performing site. We’re going to see more of this type of behavior.

6. Companies will focus internally on mobile development.

In 2012 companies will grow their mobile teams, and these will eventually match the size and scope of their regular development teams.

7. Amazon Silk is not going to spark a browser revolution.

Basic optimization techniques, such as those embedded in Silk, can actually slow down, or even break, pages. Web pages are becoming even more complex, data-intensive, and dynamic. Because of this, advanced content optimization is increasingly emerging as the only reliable way to optimize sites without causing harm.

8. Google and Siri could begin a long face-off.

Siri is incredibly attractive to mobile users, who are often task-oriented and on the move. But it all comes down to results. Google became dominant in search because it delivered the most relevant results, and it delivered them fast.

9. Companies are going to start shining a spotlight on internal application performance.

There are a lot of studies, dating back as far as 1968, showing that employees can radically increase their productivity — in some cases by more than double — when computer response time is improved by just 2 or 3 seconds. We’re going to see a renaissance in this kind of research, and we’re finally going to see companies aggressively pursue improving internal performance.

10. The CDN market is going to become a lot more competitive.

Until recently, whole site acceleration or dynamic site acceleration (DSA) was a big-ticket solution offered by one company. Now there’s a growing selection of competitive products backed by innovative companies offering newer technology and, ultimately, faster sites. The added value will keep prices and margins at reasonable rates.

11. Real user monitoring will make performance testing accessible to smaller, “mortal” companies.

With the recent proliferation of affordable, quality real user monitoring (RUM) tools, site owners will be able to finally get real insight into their visitors’ behavior — at a decent price.