31 March - 1 April 2016

Saïd Business School, Oxford, UK

Need for speed: optimising the user experience

James Christie Madpow

Session type: Tutorial
Session duration: 60 minutes

About this Tutorial

The web has gotten fat and slow. The average web page is now a bloated 2.2MB and takes over 5 seconds to load (longer on mobile). Why? Designers have taken the prevalence of fast broadband as an excuse to load up web experiences with large image carousels, intricate sharing widgets, and oodles of video. However, data-intensive design frills come with substantial but unaccounted costs.

This tutorial will explain how we can battle page bloat and improve user satisfaction, increase conversion and revenue, improve sustainability and ensure inclusivity.


  • A look back at the history of web design trends and how they have led to poor performance.
  • How to benchmark speed and how to identify cruft and fatty tissue.
  • Approaching performance from the full stack of design, from strategy onwards.
  • Web design cliches that slow you down and how to avoid them.
  • What will speed look like? How art direction will have to change to ensure speed in the post-Retina world.

We will take a break mid-way through the session to meet some speed benchmarking tools and do our own speed tests.

About the Speaker

James has been obsessing over web performance since his days as a front-end coder optimising JPEGs for 28k modems. Now a UX designer, James tackles the problem of the slow web through the lenses of content strategy, information architecture, and interaction design. The front-end coding still comes in handy, though.

Based in New Hampshire, James is a design director at MadPow.com , an experience design agency known for its work in the financial, education, and healthcare spaces.

He is also the organiser of his own performance and environment event, Sustainable UX (Feb 9th, 2016)


Session Types

Need help planning which sessions to attend? We've provided a breakdown of our various session types below.

Case Study/Experience Report

A presentation and discussion of real-life (not theoretical) experiences of the application (or mis-application) of service design techniques. Case studies and experience reports include some discussion of lessons learned and an indication of how novel the work is.


Participants learn a new approach, tool or technology through using it to solve one or more practical exercises. Any software/hardware requirements are disclosed in the session description.


A session focused around some specific tool, technique or issue. Primarily led by the speaker, tutorials usually include some elements of interactivity or individual / group exercise.


An in-depth working session on a specific topic. May include paper presentations.

Lightning Talks

Short talks (max 10 minutes) on almost any topic.


The information for this talk hasn't yet been confirmed.