Techcrunch, the very well known news site about startups, Web 2.0, mobile and buzz words, has launched a mobile version of their site in March 2010: You Asked For It: TechCrunch, The Mobile Version. There are some little technical details that aren’t quite perfect for mobiles, though.
You might or might not know that the service is hosted by wordpress.com and they use WPTouch as a mobile theme. WPTouch is normally known as the best WordPress plugin if you want to give an iPhone-like look to your mobile site and we all know how cool is the iPhone nowadays.
This is all good, too bad that while the site looks very good, it is not exactly optimised for performance. I was pleased to notice that WordPress serves the WPTouch theme to Symbian devices like the Nokia N8, less pleased to see the KB downloaded goes up to the stars. The iPhone does not show the data usage in real time, so most of us, including myself, have never noticed this. When I tested this morning the size of the homepage alone was about 1.5MB, yes, 1.5 megabytes!
I tested again this evening on my Mac, emulating the iPhone user-agent and this is what I got
As you can see there is a single image using 544KB and then a bunch of other images eating up a lot of memory and bandwidth. The most annoying part is that that image is not even visible! It is hidden in one of the posts and if you don’t click that post… Well, you will never see that big, fat image. If you look at the other files, the HTML is just 60KB and all you need is probably in the range of 200KB (CSS, JS, and some basic images). In short, we are wasting 1.3MB – every time we visit the homepage.
If you are curious, this is how the TechCrunch homepage looked when I tested, the OneRiot image is a little over 10KB.