Case study of ESPN.com
Business Benefits of Web Standards
ESPN.com traffic fluctuates with popular sports being in or out of season,
but throughout the year, they get anywhere from about 1 to 1.3 billion
page views per month. This is for all ESPN-owned sites. For just our site
on the ESPN.com domain, they average anywhere from about a half a billion
to 950 million page views per month.
The Savings Add Up after implementing web standards
- Page reduction (est.): 50KB
- Page views/day: 40,000,000
- Projected bandwidth savings:
- 2 terabytes/day
- 61 terabytes/month
- 730 terabytes/year
For the month before their redesign, they calculated that 97.44% of
their users were using standards-compliant browsers (IE 5+, Netscape 6+,
Mozilla, Opera 6+, Safari, Chimera, and Konqueror), and the rest were
either non-detectable or using non-compliant browsers. The only substantial
groups among the non-compliant browsers were IE 4.x at 1.32% and Netscape
4.x at 1.17%. The other .05% of our users were either undetectable or
were using obscure or masked user agents.
What were the advantages of the standard based new design, as compared
to your old design?
Too many to list, really. Here are several major ones:
- Less code and faster loading pages. They reduced
the size of our front page code by about 50%, and by using absolute
positioning, they were able to display important parts of the page before
other parts may have fully loaded yet.
- More modular content display. By separating their
content logically, using
divs, instead of presentationally,
using tables, they can have one piece of content in our CMS [content
management system] which is styled differently by every page on which
it appears. A good example of this is if they had a content module which
contained ten common news headlines, but it needed to fit in a 200 pixel
wide blue area on one page and a 400 pixel wide grey area on another
- Greater user control over content display. Although
their front page is the only page which has been converted over standards-based
code [as of March 2003], their new story pages are on the way. With
these new pages, users will have control over font, size, and leading
of all body copy and their preference will be cookied and used throughout
every other story page. It is amazing to me that more major sites are
not already offering this as it makes a clear readability difference
for some people.
- It's just the right thing to do. Writing old school
HTML code was never very much fun but now it's getting downright tedious
for most people. Furthermore, when the people who are actually writing
the code read about open standards and realize what they are currently
doing goes against where the industry is moving, they lose motivation
to use tables and take an interest in structural markup.
Workers in the web development industry are always looking to stay ahead
of the development curve so their skills don't become obsolete. By giving
them a way to further their skillsets and write next-generation code
on one of the most visited sites in the world, they were helping them
become the best designers, developers, and producers they can be.
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