In using common HTML/Ajax approaches for web-based data presentation and telescope control user interfaces at the MMT Observatory (MMTO), we rapidly were confronted with web browser performance issues. Much of the operational data at the MMTO is highly dynamic and is constantly changing during normal operations. Status of telescope subsystems must be displayed with minimal latency to telescope operators and other users. A major motivation of migrating toward web-based applications at the MMTO is to provide easy access to current and past observatory subsystem data for a wide variety of users on their favorite operating system through a familiar interface, their web browser. Performance issues, especially for user interfaces that control telescope subsystems, led to investigations of more efficient use of HTML/Ajax and web server technologies as well as other web-based technologies, such as Java and Flash/Flex. The results presented here focus on techniques for optimizing HTML/Ajax web applications with near real-time data display. This study indicates that direct modification of the contents or "nodeValue" attribute of text nodes is the most efficient method of updating data values displayed on a web page. Other optimization techniques are discussed for web-based applications that display highly dynamic data.