The Many Faces of The Web
All these contexts, where our websites are viewed in, vary so wildly that we have to start paying more attention to how we design and build. The web is fragile and the situation isn’t going to change any time soon.
Stop breaking the web #
There’s this thought in my head that, like a broken record, keeps repeating to me and everyone around: “Stop breaking the web.” And if I think about it more, I realize it’s related to this fundamental idea that I have, which makes me want to push the web forward and make it a better place. Because isn’t that what we, the designers and developers of this medium, should strive for and be proud of?
On a bigger scale, I mean things like making our websites accessible to everyone. Making them work with different input methods like touch, mouse, keyboard or voice. Making them load and perform fast. Providing everyone access to this vast network of connected things. And if we don’t strive for all of this, what’s the point of working on the web? To me, this is what the web is and has always been about. Making people’s lives better. Making information accessible to everyone—wherever, whenever and as fast as possible.
The thing about the web that still fascinates me after all these years, is how universally accessible it is. How you can publish something out there and how someone on the other side of this planet can just pick up a connected device and access that content. Even more fascinating, use assistive technology that reads the content for the user. But—it’s also so easy to break this connection if we don’t pay attention.
How we build #
I feel like there’s a growing trend in our industry to forget accessibility. To not pay attention. Forget progressively enhanced experiences. Forget the universality of the medium that we are working on. Forget that not everyone on this planet has the latest and greatest devices or the connection speeds that we, ourself, might have.
This worries me and puts me thinking.
Embrace the medium #
The web is more than just a set of protocols and agreements—HTTP, URLs, HTML. It’s also built with a set of principles that—much like the principles underlying the internet itself—are founded on ideas of universality and accessibility (as Jeremy Keith states it).
We are designing and building experiences for a medium, where it’s not possible to control our user’s age, abilities, context, device, browser, screen size, operating system, connection speed, or even the input method they are using. The contexts, where our websites will be eventually viewed in, are a mix of variables we can’t control.
Universality is in the core of the World Wide Web, so we should embrace it and build websites that are available to, and accessible by, everyone. We are designing and building for the many faces of the web.
I want to make you a better place. ❦