Dear JPost.com, I know a lady who was in your military, I wouldn’t want to get on her bad side and I admire her uniquely strong allegiance she has to Israel, her pride for her hometown. She raised three girls on her own, a fighter and a mom of great conviction. I was moved by this and I suddenly want to learn about my country’s partnership and history with Israel, interested specifically in how we could both be helpful to each other given the slew of crises in which we’re now entrenched and how much overlap there is in our present interests.

After putting in a good few hours on Wikipedia to get some background, which was very enlightening, it was time for me to switch from history to current events. But I wanted to read about these events not from the New York Times, rather from the horse’s mouth, an Israeli outfit. So I find your website using my top shelf phone, quad core overclocked processor, the Cadillac of phones if you will, running Google Chrome with two different ad blockers and using Google’s proxy compression service which all in conjunction makes the web pretty fast. Usually.

I click up JPost. Yikes.

The only thing that loads quickly is the annoying prompt to install an app just to read your content. Haven’t you heard yet that no one likes those? I installed the app to see if you opted to experiment with providing an experience that was less awful, I managed to read an editorial about needing to accept and welcome interfaith marriages but the app offered nothing to palliate the challenge you feel compelled to impose on people to read your content.

Someone in your office was smart enough to make a deal with Akamai. Figure out who that guy was and ask him to make the site load faster. If he asks for more specific instructions, just tell him to do whatever he’s got to do to “lower the damn bounce rate” and I suspect he’ll know the rest, given how painfully obvious you’ve managed to make that already.

Your site’s messiness is preventing me, and I’d wager many others which is why I’m trying to get your attention, from accessing the work of your writers and becoming loyal readers. You’ve effectively put a slalom course in between your readers and your writers that shoots everyone in the foot (except your competition’s feet). Stop that.

If I were able to read your content online better than this, and I fell in love with your writing, I might find myself subscribing to a print version of your publication, and you know why? Because when I’d open the first page of that newspaper, my eyes would only have to make several optical maneuvers to skim the headlines which I’d prefer, whereas on your website’s front page, my browser has to make over two hundred maneuvers, or grab elements, hits, individual requests in order to assemble the front page of your site, over four megabytes (these numbers are above average). It might take fewer bytes to watch a youtube video of someone scrolling down your site, interstitial advertisements and all. If I leave my browser open on the front page of the site and sip coffee for a moment, because of how your persistent tracking and reloading of other elements is weirdly configured, that number goes from about 220 hits to 670 hits in only two minutes, an additional 10MB transfer of blank gifs and strange javascript files transfer that seems purposeless, except as a means to drain my phone’s battery rapidly.

The slower your site loads, the more likely people will leave your site without clicking anything. I’m not making this up to bust your chops. And the longer you keep doing that, according to Google and Microsoft, the more permanent that damage becomes, your site earning a reputation of clutter, a site of more sizzle than steak.

If you want to suppress the growth of your audience and their engagement on your site, leave it the way it is. If you want more people reading more articles on each visit and seeing advertisements that are greater in visual impressions and clickthroughs but lesser in gaudy, cheap invasiveness, if you want people visiting from overseas who may have strict bandwidth caps or are using phones not to get a huge bill, please streamline your site. Look at your site’s front page, and ask yourself if you really need more than two hundred separate conversations with my computer in order for me to read a square foot or two of your articles, eyeball some ads, reporting to Google Analytics along my merry way. The answer’s no, of course not. And then you’ll be looking at a problem you can erase without that much effort. It could pay off.

I go to Google News multiple times a day because I get a blast of news rapidly. It actually loads before I finish typing in the word news, isn’t that something. I want to add JPost to the list of such sites I frequent, but the way it is now, I can’t do that. I want to read what your journalists create with fewer distractions and hindrances and in addition to the readers you already have there are more people like me you could use your website to tap, and with respect to your site’s design, less is more to that end. This is a news website, not a diamond ring, less is more. For design inspiration, take a look at your own Wikipedia page. Beautiful.

Oh my, the top banner advertisement on your site just started blinking red like a strobe light, apparently I’m the 100,000th visitor. How ironic that your 100,000th visitor made this historic visit only to collect material to criticize your site’s abysmal design, and how fortunate it is I don’t have epilepsy. The ad reads, “THIS IS NOT A JOKE!” – no disrespect JPost, but that’s debatable.

Doug Simmons

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Biographical info.. hmm. I have a history of not being able to strike the balance between what is “safe” to put into these forms and what is, in my mind at least, funny. Can’t do it.

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