Increasingly, people need computing to be fast – Google fast. We’re expecting and demanding that our computers turn on instantly, that web pages load immediately, that everything is snappy. Speed really matters to us all when we interact with technology: a fast experience is the foundation of a good one.
Making banking fast isn’t without challenges. We use a few different techniques to save a few milliseconds here and there, so that you have an improved experience.
Keep it tight
Firstly, we try to make our web sites as lean as possible, which means optimizing images and other ‘static’ content. This is difficult when we also want banking to look good too, but we think we’ve found a balance – the login page of NetBank is actually a smaller page size than Google. We also keep our pages compact by using optimized images, by compressing our content and by making sure our ‘static’ content is cached for as long as possible, so that when you revisit NetBank or CommBiz, you shouldn’t have to download many new files.
In our most recent change to NetBank, we have increased our average page size marginally, but we’ve also made many other parts faster.
Use the time efficiently
While our online sites are relatively streamlined, we want to make sure downloading content doesn’t get in between you and getting your banking done quickly. A neat trick the team employs is background downloads. While you are typing your password, that’s ‘idle time’: we’re waiting on you. We can use that time to silently download some of the content. We’ve got to be careful – if you type your password very quickly, we don’t get a lot of time. Thus, we just try to get a few important files.
Lower the chatter
Our most recent revamp of NetBank makes a use of a lot of these techniques – you may notice that many pages are loading a lot more snappily than they were a month ago.
Load what matters, when it matters
It might surprise you to know that both NetBank and to a lesser extent CommBiz gather data from more than one system to show you a simple view of all your banking. Not all of the systems in the bank were created equal – some are a little slower than others, and some are perhaps less critical than others. We don’t want a ‘weakest link’ problem: rather than make customers wait for the slowest system to respond, we tend to break up pages into pieces. Parts that are critical load first and the parts that are less so load second. Most of the time, you won’t notice the additional data that ‘fades in’. If you’ve ever visited a branch, our internal customer system also behaves like this. This is another part of making sure every second counts.