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Lessons from South Africa

Last week Una Kravets was at the Pixel Up! UX conference in South Africa. She shared some insights from folks who live there about building sites for an international audience.

The two that stood out for me:

  1. If it doesn't work offline, it just won't catch on.
  2. Accessing the web is really expensive, especially with all of the taxes applied to data charges.

So what can you do about it?

For offline, it’s worth digging into Progressive Web Apps. Jason Grigsby from Cloud Four gave an awesome presentation on this at An Event Apart Boston this week, and shared this course from Google and this massive collection of resources (scroll down to Jason’s name) with me as good places to start.

That second item—data being really expensive—is where performance best practices come in. Keep image files as small as you can (responsive image techniques are great for this). Progressively enhance your sites. Don’t even load JavaScript files on browsers that don’t support your code.