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Web Performance Awards – March 2016

by Lubos Kmetko on April 14, 2016
Published in Performance Add Comment

How did Awwwards winning websites deal with performance optimization in March 2016?

We have tested 31 winners of the Awwwards Site of the Day. (Check the end of the article for How we test.)

Top 10

1. Sevenhills – Nature’s Combinations – 88/100

  • PageSpeed Insights Mobile: 99
  • PageSpeed Insights Desktop: 99
  • WebPagetest: 77

2. Steven Mengin – Portfolio – 87/100

  • PageSpeed Insights Mobile: 90
  • PageSpeed Insights Desktop: 97
  • WebPagetest: 80

3. Portfolio of Aaron Porter – 82/100

  • PageSpeed Insights Mobile: 73
  • PageSpeed Insights Desktop: 89
  • WebPagetest: 83

4th – 10th place

  1. Get Vive Ready – 75/100
  2. Bonobo Jeans – 74/100
  3. Visit Humboldt – 72/100
  4. Rezo Zero – 71/100
  5. Nikos Koulis Jewels – 70/100
  6. Emirates: View From Above – 69/100
  7. Discovery Building – 68/100

Last 3

Without calling the names, the lowest 3 results in our test were:

  • 41/100
  • 36/100
  • 15/100

Google PageSpeed Insights

The following table shows how many sites passed Google PageSpeed Insights rules:

Mobile Desktop
Passed Consider Fixing Should Fix Passed Consider Fixing Should Fix
Avoid landing page redirects 86% 7% 7% 90% 7% 3%
Reduce server response time 90% 10% 0% 90% 10% 0%
Leverage browser caching 0% 62% 38% 0% 79% 21%
Enable compression 41% 38% 21% 38% 41% 21%
Minify HTML 83% 17% 0% 86% 14% 0%
Minify CSS 79% 21% 0% 76% 24% 0%
Minify JavaScript 72% 24% 3% 66% 31% 3%
Optimize images 48% 38% 14% 45% 34% 21%
Prioritize visible content 55% 45% 0% 55% 45% 0%
Eliminate render-blocking JS and CSS in above-the-fold content 3% 4% 93% 3% 42% 55%

Legend:

  • Passed – No significant issues found. Good job!
  • Consider Fixing – Consider fixing this if it is not a lot of work
  • Should Fix – Fixing this would have a measurable impact on page performance

WebPagetest

What optimization grades did websites get from WebPagetest?

A-B C-D F (X)
First Byte Time 83% 7% 10%
Keep-alive Enabled 93% 0% 7%
Compress Transfer 69% 10% 21%
Compress Images 48% 21% 31%
Cache static content 31% 14% 55%
Effective use of CDN 10% 90%

Commentary

  • The average score of all tested sites was 63, which is better than last month when the average score was 57.
  • This month sites did a better job on image optimization but scores for gzip compression and caching are still low considering how relatively easy these fixes are.
  • Effective use of CDN also declined from 28% percent the last month to only 10% this month.
  • This month’s winner, Seven Hills, is an interesting case because it’s a Single Page Application and is by no means a small site (almost 12MB when fully loaded). Both PageSpeed and WebPagetest are fooled by its intro stage and cannot see the real site loading with all of the other assets like images and videos.

Fail of the month

Dozens of JS files without gzip compression enabled. Dozens of JS files already sounds scary, but things get much worse when gzip is not enabled –  you’re transferring 5.5MB of data instead of “just” 1.2MB.

Next month

It will be interesting to watch the rise of SPAs and check if performance test tools are able to deal with its specifics. If not we will have to consider changing our test methodology for this type of page.

How we test

Google PageSpeed Insights

We test each website home page with Google PageSpeed Insights and count the average score from the Mobile and Desktop results.

WebPagetest

We test each website home page with WebPagetest and calculate the score from the result grades as follows:

  • A – 100
  • B – 80
  • C – 60
  • D – 40
  • F – 0

Effective use of CDN criteria is either Yes (100) or X (No – 0).

Total Score

The total score is calculated as an average from the Google PageSpeed Insights score and the WebPagetest score. The maximum score any site can get is 100.

About the author

Lubos Kmetko

Lubos Kmetko started to work for Xfive (formerly XHTMLized) as a front-end developer in 2006. He currently helps with business operations and writes for the Xfive blog.

More articles from Lubos

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