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Reaching Everyone

Tim Kadlec (Independent)
Rhinelander South
Average rating: *****
(5.00, 9 ratings)
Slides:   external link

Mobile subscriptions continue to increase at an incredible rate, with most of that growth coming from emerging economies such as Africa and Southeast Asia. These areas are dominated by slow, intermittent connectivity and low-end devices. If companies aren’t already taking steps to ensure they are able to reach these new audiences, they soon will be.

Radio Free Europe’s audience spans 70 countries. In some of these countries, people risk being hanged for trying to read content on Radio Free Europe’s sites—that’s how important that information is to them.

For Radio Free Europe reaching these people is the goal, and it’s an uphill battle. Their users are accessing their site using devices ranging from the latest iPhone to old Nokia’s running proxy browsers, over networks ranging from high-end broadband in Eastern Europe to extremely poor GPRS networks in the Middle East. Performance isn’t just a priority—it’s absolutely essential to ensuring people can access the information they value so much.

This presentation will explore the lessons learned in trying to build a high-performant responsive site that can effectively reach a diverse global audience. We’ll discuss how we built performance into the process of from the earliest stages of design on. We’ll also talk about the problems we ran into trying to make the site load quickly on these networks, the solutions we tried, and what did and didn’t work.

Photo of Tim Kadlec

Tim Kadlec


Tim is an independent developer and consultant who helps organizations with problems at the intersection of performance and responsive design

He is the author of Implementing Responsive Design: Building sites for an anywhere, everywhere web (New Riders, 2012) and was a contributing author for Smashing Book #4: New Perspectives on Web Design (Smashing Magazine, 2013) and Web Performance Daybook Volume 2 (O’Reilly, 2012). He writes sporadically at and you can find him sharing his thoughts in a briefer format on Twitter at @tkadlec.

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Dustin McCormick
09/17/2014 1:07am EDT

This was really a gem among the presentations this year with some really unique insights. Additionally, the content was immediately useful and specific in its prescriptions to the problems it addresses.