The tools for making content performant have improved considerably in the last few years. As designers we can now influence the size and the type of resources that the end users will see when they view our content.
Good overview of the topic are:
- Steve Souder’s High Performance Web Sites did the first book length treatment of web performance
- Steve Souder’s Even Faster Web Sites updates the treatment of web peformance
- Ilya Grigorik’s High Performance Browser Networking available free from O’Reilly Books.
A final note: This covers my experience and research. It is by no means an exhaustive guide. For more and deeper research into tooling and performance check Addy Osmani’s blog and Totally Tooling Tips on Youtube. Ilya Grigorik’s blog is a good source of information on the subject