Pelle Wessman

Things about me and the world around us

The Website Obesity Crisis

Great thoughts on the current state of the web. Getting some web 2.0 vibes and getting a bit nostalgic about the time when participation, democratization and truly simple websites was all the rage. Where did it all go wrong?

Some quotes from the article:

It’s like we woke up one morning in 2008 to find that our Lego had all turned to Duplo. Sites that used to show useful data now look like cartoons.

Sites target novice users on touchscreens at everyone else’s expense.

Complexity is like a bug light for smart people. We can’t resist it, even though we know it’s bad for us.

​I think we can resist it if we take a more holistic approach to things and ensure that the teams/people that build things always have their eyes on the end goal. Only when we lose sight or interest in the next goal do we look for alternative goals and solving complex problems is a great goal, just not the right onto when building a product.

much of the web is horribly overbuilt

The point is that assumptions about complexity will anchor your expectations, and limit what you’re willing to try. If you think a ‘real’ website has to live in the cloud and run across a dozen machines, a whole range of otherwise viable projects will seem unprofitable.

Developers today work on top of too many layers to notice how powerful the technology has become.

​Very true. Eg. the state of JavaScript in browsers today makes many libraries unneeded – it’s powerful enough on its own.

One way to make your website shine is by having the courage to let the browser do what it’s optimized to do. Don’t assume that all your frameworks and tooling are saving you time or money.

Everything we do to make it harder to create a website or edit a web page, and harder to learn to code by viewing source, promotes that consumerist vision of the web.

The way to keep giant companies from sterilizing the Internet is to make their sites irrelevant. If all the cool stuff happens elsewhere, people will follow. We did this with AOL and Prodigy, and we can do it again.

For this to happen, it’s vital that the web stay participatory.

​That’s why the IndieWeb movement is so important (and rejuvenating!)

Keeping the Web simple keeps it awesome.


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