Maciej Cegłowski wrote a lengthy and sobering article on The Website Obesity Crisis. It’s a topic I think about often.
I’ve said previously that not wasting readers’ time is one of the primary respect metrics for a site, along with quality and legibility of content. You want each page to be a few hundred kilobytes at most, in total, and it should load in half a second. That’s the goal. I’m constantly tweaking things to make this site as fast as possible. People notice, and they appreciate it.
You can’t always make it small, but the size should come from content, not cruft. You might not have the freedom or the expertise to make it fast, but the delay should be from latency, not the transfer and rendering of resources. What you can do is get rid of all the stuff you don’t need, and put the words first.
Networks are faster, bandwidth is more plentiful, devices are more powerful, but the web is more needlessly slow than ever. Patience is still in short supply.