MET Éireann - The Slowest Website in Ireland
Until a couple of years ago MET Éireann had a very simple, basic website.
This was not a bad thing - it was very fast and very user-friendly and included wonderful features like a rain radar which allowed the user to “scrub” back an forth in the timeline and thereby view the onset of rain at a pace which was suitable to them.
Unfortunately this beautiful little website was replaced by a generic, ugly, slow behemoth which is not fit for purpose.
When I say slow, I really mean it-
Shown here are the load times of some of the slowest items on the MET Éireann website-
With modern technologies such as broadband, HTTP2 over HTTPS (which allows for multiple simultaneous HTTP requests instead of serial requests) and content delivered via a CDN, a website such as this ought to be downloaded in under 15 seconds - optimally in about 5 seconds.
However, it can, and usually does, take in excess of 5 minutes, as can be seen in the images above and this is absolutely unacceptable.
This website is sadly typical of “modern” websites which are utterly bloated, which take forever to download and are really sluggish and unresponsive.
It is worth pointing out that this page (on screamingstonedesign.com) took 1.15 seconds to load.
The once user-friendly rain radar has been replaced with something which lacks the “scrubbing” facility and which plays at a fixed speed - a speed which is agonisingly slow.
It takes over 1 second to transition between radar images - in the same amount of time I could have scrubbed through the timeline of the old rain radar twice and obtained a clear impression of the direction of the rain and the time it was taking to move.
To get the same kind of information from the new rain radar can take as much as 21 seconds - sometimes even longer.
After the website was “updated” a feedback form was presented to users to ask them their opinions of the new website - I really have no idea why they did this as I raised several concerns about the functionality and user-friendliness of the new website but I neither received a reply nor were any of my concerns addressed.
My personal belief is that the company which created this terrible hack-job of a website cherry-picked the responses to find only the most favourable ones which they could present to MET Éireann so they could tell them that “everybody” loved the new website.
Upon seeing how awful the new website was, I decided I might take a look at the MET Éireann smartphone app to see if it was any faster.
I discovered, to my absolute horror, that the app required many permissions and one of them was access to all of my contacts!
Why, I ask you, does a weather reporting app need access to anyone’s contacts?!
If anyone is interested, the below image shows the full download times, simply click on it and it will open in a separate tab-
You can obtain the same information, in greater detail, when using either Firefox (recommended) or Chrome by right-clicking on a page and selecting “inspect element” from the context menu - once the web developer is open you can select the network monitor from the menu.