May 7, 2005
Sloppy + Bandwidth
While the broadband adoption rate continues to increase (to as much as 56% of the US at-home user base according to WebSiteOptimization.com's March 2005 Bandwidth Report), web shops will need to design for modem users for some time to come. Unfortunately, many of us in the industry have become accustomed to our high-speed connections both at work and at home and it's easy to forget what that "other halve's" user experience is like.
Enter Sloppy, a free and essential Java-based cross-platform tool that simulates dial-up speeds to your desktop. Sloppy can simulate modem speeds from 9.6-56k and the "home" broadband range from 128k (Dual-ISDN) on up to 512k. Sloppy is deployed as a Java Web Start app; if you already have Java installed, then you can click here to run and begin working with the latest version of Sloppy.
Besides checking page load times, I've found Sloppy to be particularly helpful in identifying problems with and fine-tuning preload behavior and/or streaming performance of Flash content.
It's also very instructive and sometimes humbling to see your online content as nearly half of us still do.