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Increase Your Online Documentation Load Speed

Posted by
Anastasia in Documentation UX on 9/25/20174 min read

Increase Your Online Documentation Load Speed

Let’s be honest. Speed is everything these days. If a website (or, an online documentation portal takes just one second too long to load, it can negatively affect your business. And, with the mobile Internet on the rise, online users just aren’t willing to wait for anything.

In fact, 47% of people expect a page to load in less than three seconds. Something as insignificant as a one second delay can lead to a 7% loss in conversions.

Ouch.

Now, here comes more bad news: speed matters just as much for your online documentation as it does for any other website. The problem is that high-quality technical writing needs to be jam-packed with visual content to make it more compelling and easier to understand. But an abundance of multimedia materials also means that your online user manual will require more time to load.

High Load Speed

This article will present three ways a technical writer can ensure the perfect loading time for their platforms, ultimately giving their readers a better experience.

Minimize HTTP Requests

The first step in improving your online manual performance is to limit the number of HTTP requests a browser makes to a server. The browser will then begin to download files simultaneously. Consider this: all of your website’s files will have to be downloaded to the browsers. Therefore, by limiting these requests, you are substantially easing the download process and speeding up page loading.

Optimizing HTTP

Optimize Content

Content is one of the biggest things that might drag your online manual’s loading time, especially if it is multimedia. Sure, you can use CSS for some graphics, but you won’t be able to replace an actual photograph or other more detailed elements.

Anyone who’s ever looked for online help can tell you that visuals make the entire learning process better and easier. So it’s important for your technical writing to include clear, high-definition imagery. But, to make sure your visuals won’t affect loading time, you need to optimize them accordingly:

  • Make sure the images are not too heavy. Your task here is to find the right balance between the quality and the weight. There are many tools out there that can provide with the solution instantly, for example, we are using https://tinypng.com/
  • Remove image metadata. There is a lot of information in the metadata that is not essential to the file.
  • Reduce color depth.

There’s a deeper layer to this - different techniques that SEO pros use. Lazy-loading images can be a great example here for mobile-oriented websites or documentation portals. Check out our blog article on lazy-loading images in user manuals to understand how this approach works and be able to use it.

Enable Caching

Servers and browsers allow caching: they store older requests (images, CSS files, web pages, and cookies). By enabling caching, you are giving the green light to storing these requests, which will improve your online user manual’s performance.

Google Developers has a lot of cool tips on the subject you can check for yourself.

Google

Conclusion

Your online user manual is just like any website and just like one it needs to be properly optimized. Your keywords, the quality of your content, and page speed are all factors that can influence how Google will rank your online documentation.

Documentation load speed is but one SEO factor you need to think about. Here’s the good news - some help authoring tools include SEO-related features to make your life easier and you online user manuals indexed and ranked high by search engines, check out ClickHelp, an online documentation tool, as a fine example of such an app.

Don’t assume that just because your content is highly technical, you get special treatment. You should strive to give your audience the best possible experiences, both regarding the content you provide and the speed at which you deliver it. When your customers can get access to the information they need fast, then you can rest assured that it’s the beginning of a lucrative relationship.

Good Luck with your technical writing!
ClickHelp Team
Online Technical Writing & Documentation Tools

 

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