Progress Report 09/22: Working on the things you don’t see

I spent a lot of this week working on things that are important, but you rarely think about as a designer at a company: load speed optimization and choosing and installing the right analytics tools.

I’m proud of what I learned: I used to measure how fast my pages were loading. It turns out that my typekit fonts were almost 30% of the total page size, because I included every typeface I might ever need. Typekit warns you that this might slow down your site, but I never took those warning seriously — I’ve got super fast Wifi, amirite?

I was able to shorten the load speed of my pages by 40% with just a few tweaks. I removed all Typekit fonts I’m not using, I minified the CSS, removed all unnecessary plugins that added code I didn’t need, and Cloudflare and WP-Rocket for caching.

For tracking, of course I have Google Analytics, but after going through the Startup School curriculum, I became interested in Event-based analytics. I had never heard of that before! I know I know, I’ve worked at these big companies, but no one I’ve worked with really did analytics they way you’re supposed to. Most of them didn’t want to spend the money. They’d gladly hire 5 new mediocre employees at 150k salary each, but can’t pony up the $1500 per month MAX for good tracking tools. Okay……

Anyway, Startup School recommends Mixpanel, but I found that setting up event handlers was too involved and technical for my style of thinking. So I searched around some more and found Heap, which collects everything users do automatically, and you can sort and filter it later. Now that’s what I’m talking about. Amplitude looked good too but I read their documentation and it was event handler stuff too. No thanks.

For on-page heatmaps, I’ve used hotjar in the past, but I hate that you have to set up a heatmap for each page individually and that they expire after a certain amount of views. I looked at Inspectlet, and while its pricing is attractive, it just always seemed like a “me too” product that had trouble differentiating itself from the major players in the game. I decided to use the free version of Fullstory.

For A/B Testing, I’m using Google Optimize.

Some other things I did was the visual design for a number of pages that aren’t public yet, like the store, the “My Account” pages, and checkout. I also set up the tech stack for the job board. Yup, there’s gonna be a job board.

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