SlideShare Got Faster. Here's How...

October 17, 2013

road-runner-1“A snappy user experience beats a glamorous one, for the simple reason that people engage more with a site when they can move freely and focus on the content instead of on their endless wait.”

That's a quote from Web page usability guru Jakob Nielsen  -- and we've taken it to heart at SlideShare. If you've noticed that using SlideShare seems faster, it's because it is: Our engineering team has made some significant performance improvements over the past few months.

We've reduced the time it takes to load a presentation page by a whopping 2 seconds! This was not an easy task, and when it comes to page load time, every millisecond reduction counts. How did we do it?

- We made major changes in the architecture of our HTML player so that it displays the first slide faster and makes better use of HTML markup structure rather than relying on javascript. We also pre-load slides so that the user does not have to wait for the content to load in case he jumps to a slide.

- We noticed that the social sharing widgets were blocking the load of other critical assets. So we deferred the loading of these widgets to a delayed event.

- Compressing javascript files helps in reducing the time taken by browsers to download the files. We compared a variety of tools like yui and jsmin to minify the size of our javascript files. We found closure compiler to be the best.

For the more technical-minded, go to our engineering blog for more. And special thanks to SlideShare devs Jeba Emmanuel, Apoorvi Kapoor and Jean Benois who worked on this!

Over the coming year, you can expect us to make continuous improvements in performance and quality. If you find the technical tips useful or have more ideas for how to make SlideShare faster, please tell us in the comments below!