The BBC published a story revealing that many areas of Britain – and not just the rural backwaters – suffer from low levels of internet connectivity. While fewer than 1% of British homes are unable to get any internet connection whatsoever, the story focuses on the estimated three million households with a slow connection of under 2Mbps (megabits per second).
The result of connection speeds this slow is that websites relying on frequent page loads and applications such as the BBC i-Player simply aren’t practical. While the country’s media goes wild for Twitter, Facebook, movies on demand and online shopping, it’s important to remember that some users are being left behind.
For online businesses, it’s often good advice to cater for the lowest common denominator. If your customers are spread throughout the country, bear in mind that installing ‘heavy’ applications on your site may be the cause of immense frustration to some – especially if you require these applications to be used in order to make a sale. If you hope to sell internationally, it makes even more sense to bear in mind that many areas of the world still access the internet on basic dial-up connections, or by mobile phone only.
It’s easy to get carried away and build an all-singing, all dancing website which jumps on all the latest technological bandwagons, but your customers will thank you if you take the time to make a lightweight, basic website that performs as smoothly as you can make it. The good news is, the government is committing to increasing the country’s access to faster broadband by 2012 – whereupon you can feel free to unveil your all-singing, all-dancing website at last.