WTF Opera Mini?!

almost 6 years ago from Anselm Urban, German Web Designer and Developer

  • Taylor Van OrdenTaylor Van Orden, almost 6 years ago

    Warning: anecdotal evidence incoming.

    I find that outside the US you are much more likely to use Opera mini - not necessarily just in developing countries. I have a few friends in the Netherlands who love it specifically because of features that allow them to better control loading content and large images.

    In the US, capped data or limited data is not as big of a deal. For example, I'm on a family plan where we have never once gotten close to hitting our 10gb shared plan. However, one of my friends in the Netherlands has 500mb /month and has told me his becomes anxious whenever clicking links (even to news articles and the likes) because they may burn through 3mbs or 4mbs or 10mbs of data for that single page. He's a bit of an urban explorer and Google Maps and routes takes the majority of his monthly internet usage.

    Another friend in Australia has a data plan for his phone (500mb) and a USB dongle (2gb) for his computer. He lives about an hour outside of Sydney where you essentially have to pay a huge upfront cost to get a real internet line (not DSL) to your house. He is renting and won't be there much longer and therefore opts for the no-upfront-cost dongle. Maybe some Australians here can explain better how / why this is as I don't feel like going into it. Basically, infrastructure is a big issue. When you have a country the same size as the US with a fraction of the population, infrastructure costs shoot up.

    As developers, the feature support on Opera Mini is one thing we should be aware of (I am certainly guilty as fuck of ignoring browser tests for all versions of Opera) but we should be more aware of how large a page is.

    I had the same anxiety that my friend had spoken of when I traveled across Asia and Europe on pre-paid sim cards this year. Since free Wi-Fi isn't as readily available, I honestly avoided going to Designer News so that I would avoid the links that we link to and avoid large page loads on the tiny amount of data I had.

    Let's take a look at 5 random links on designer news right now:

    1. - 920.3kB

    2. - 3.3MB

    3. - 5.8MB

    4. (at least the title of this one gives you a hint you shouldn't click it if you have limited data) - 59.0MB

    5. - 14.4MB

    That gives us ~83.5mb for 5 LINKS!

    So lets say I visit 5 designer news links per day. DN itself is 1.0mb. That means in less than 6 days and less than 30 links, I will have blown through my data plan IF I HAVE DONE LITERALLY NOTHING ELSE ON MY PHONE TO USE DATA.

    Even if we take the horrible gif outlier out, we are still averaging 6.125mb/link. That allows us 81.6 links per month (about 2-3 links per day) before poof! data is gone.

    Designer News specifically links to pages with higher page weight as they are often filled with high resolution images, big javascript libraries, etc. But the average page across the modern web is still approximately 3mb these days which means I'm allowed to visit 5.5 pages per day to stay within my 500mb plan. Again, that's assuming I literally don't use my phone for anything else data related ever.

    What sucks even more is news sites, like NYTimes etc, are now getting up there as well. Here's a NY Times Magazine Article that is 4.5MB. Here's a medium article that clocks in a 2.8mb.

    So basically, feature support is important. But for those in countries that don't have unlimited (or essentially unlimited) internet access, Opera Mini's data saver features are incredibly useful.

    10 points