No time to load fancy web graphics? Surf with lobandWhen broadband isn't available, loband comes to the rescue

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Sometimes the niftiest tools are the ones that have been around for the longest time.

I just came across Aptivate's loband, a wonderfully handy web service that's been around since 2004. Loband lets you see highly-simplified versions of web pages, stripping out the fancy formatting and hefty graphics that can slow down users who don't have broadband Internet connections - mobile users, for instance, or people in developing countries.

Here's how it works:

Users in low-bandwidth areas browse to the small Loband website, and then request the site they want to view. Loband then downloads the site, reduces it in size, and then sends it on to the user. This can significantly speed up the user's browsing experience over a stable, low-bandwidth connection.

Loband requires no software download to function, works on most websites, and is automated and open-source.

Dandy. I've already come across one blog that links to its loband version as a way of offering users a lightweight alternative - very clever.

You won't get pretty graphics with loband... or, really, any graphics. Here's the Social Signal homepage as seen in Firefox:

Social Signal home page

And here's the same homepage in loband:

Low-bandwidth version of SoSi home page

That second version may not be pretty, but it'll load a lot faster over a mobile or dial-up connection than our full site would.

I stumbled across loband thanks to a site (Patronus Analytical, which specializes in security for NGOs working in dangerous parts of the world) that's using it to offer readers a low-bandwidth version. Not a bad idea, and one we'll consider here at Social Signal.

In the meantime, feel free to browse us in low-bandwidth mode... and let us know if you find any glitches.


Mike Fitzsimon says

July 7, 2009 - 5:50am is going straight to my mobile favourites! Thanks.

Rex Turgano says

July 10, 2009 - 2:40am

Thanks for sharing Rob. A few NGO's that I am currently volunteering with here in Nepal are still using dial-up or wireless CDMA. This service will definitely help.

Portland Web Site Design says

June 29, 2011 - 3:41am

First time web owners should not miss this article. It's quick and straight to the point. Will definitely share this to my readers. Thanks.

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