A few weeks ago, after reading the insightful post “Most of the web really sucks if you have a slow connection” from Hacker News, I decided to give up some features in this blog to make it much lighter on resources.
The biggest change is dropping web fonts. In my Linux system, the blog looks essentially the same because I have the selected fonts installed, but external visitors may find everything looks slightly different. As part of that change, I also stopped using Font Awesome for the four icons at the top, replacing it with Unicode characters.
These characters look different depending on the web browser and platform. I settled for U+1F3E0 “house building” icon in the “Home” link, U+1F5C4 “file cabinet” in the “Archive” link, U+1F4F0 “newspaper” in the RSS feed icon and finally U+1F464 “bust in silhouette” in the “About me” link.
The icons look colorful and crystal clear in Chrome, Firefox and their Android variants, but a bit dull in Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge. I asked a friend to let me see how they looked in an iPhone and they were OK. Using Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 7 from my work computer results in a very confusing newspaper icon and a missing file cabinet icon, but it’s a small price to pay for the space and bandwidth saved. I’m sure my site is now readable for more people around the globe thanks to being lighter.