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Don’t crank the Jank

by: | October 9, 2013

Don't Crank the Jank - a crank on a sheet of code

Jank. What!

Jank in laymans terms is ‘not smooth scrolling’. Yup, that’s it in a nutshell. When you scroll a page and it kinda stutters along rather than being smooth, thats Jank. When the page gets sticky around certain page elements, that’s Jank.

I am a bit of an evangelist regarding the value of user experience (UX) within the digital terrain. Our methodologies have this aspect of interaction design at its core.

Recently there has been much discussion online and out-and-about regarding web page performance. Not so hot off the press, web page performance matters. OK, so the speed of your site is now (has been for a while) part of the algorithm Google uses in its page ranking. But in addition to how fast you page connects, downloads and renders; is the experience your users have ‘on’ your website.

Paul Irish over at Google has talked at length about Jank, hell there’s even a website aimed at making the web Jank free.

What the Jank!

most parallax layouts are ridiculously janky with more focus placed on the effect than user experience. Sadface.

There are various aspects to solving these problems. Page analysis, code analysis, how you code, where and how elements on the page are positioned, how you implement certain behavioural aspects of a page and on and on. Some of these are simpler to implement than others, but all increase the experience for the end user and help promote your “brand experience” and that’s key.

Be water my friend

Ok, I’ve quoted a Martial Arts legend again (Bruce Lee for the uninitiated), but with good reason. “Water can flow, or it can crash”, I don’t mean the page falls over and stops your browser from functioning, I’m merely referring to the car crash that is a stuttering Janky scroll. A web page/app can take either path but one promotes, enhances and supports you product, service or brand; and the other just niggles.

Bruce Lee - Running water never grows stale quote

A well developed interface is like a breath of fresh air, a joyous interaction, leaving a warm feeling of accomplishment, contentment from users and simply a great brand experience taken to the next level. Lets shank the Jank and schmooze the smooth.

My Mrs is always on Facebook, and when she gets the Jank, and to be honest the mobile version (and sometimes the native app too) is prone to Jank, it really bugs her. Lets not let your site bug anyone now or in the future. The web is an evolving landscape and we have the tools to make these aspects of the interaction paradigm a thing of the past, so let s do it.

Caveat:

Sometimes interaction models/techniques lend themselves to development practices that can’t be unJanked. This is mostly when ensuring your page/app is accessible and usable to historically obsolete browsers, Internet Explorer I’m looking at you! So in the scheme of things, for now at least we need to make the changes where we can, to make the experience the best it can be for the majority of the audience, and right now, that’s still quite a substantial saving and an increased experienced by the many.

In conclusion

Anything that stops a user, causes the user to divert from their task or attracts attention units away from their intended action – is bad, period. A misplaced ad, some funky social interaction at the wrong place in the user journey, a page that takes too long to load or simply some Jank. We’re on board to help make the web Jank Free, are you?

What do you think? Do you have an opinion or any examples? Then let us know below. Got an upcoming project, launching a startup or want us to look over your current site performance or Jank – then get in touch now.

Be water my friend.

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