Over-engineered websites with all the latest bells and whistles impress clients but die the death when consumers log on and find it takes more than just a few seconds to grab the information they were after. This is accepted logic: witness the disappearance of boo.com and the success of simply designed sites such as amazon.com. And you dont have to reinvent the wheel to create a compelling and good looking website...

Bloat is bad

According to BBC News Online an entire online furniture store and a tiny art museum have become winners of a competition to create webpages only five kilobytes in size.

The competition was launched in March this year to see if anyone could build an entire webpage smaller than many of the pictures some sites use as illustrations.

Over 1200 entries were submitted for the competition.

The 5K competition is one example of an emerging trend towards the creation of parsimonious programs and websites, says BBC News Online, and a backlash against bloated software and whizz bang sites that need the very latest browsers (and, God forbid, which are also designed to work best with specific browsers, cutting out other users at source).

The overall winner was a website created by the Web Production Group at Cornell University. It managed to squeeze an electronic shopping cart system and an online shop into the 5,120 bytes allowed.

Most websites are tens, if not hundreds, of times bigger than 5,120 bytes. The smaller a webpage, the faster it loads and the more likely it will accessed and returned to.

Stewart Butterfield, organiser of the competition, said it was run to get web designers thinking inventively about the pages they produce. "Limitations are the soil from which creativity grows," he told BBC News Online.

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