Making Simpler Web Sites Makes Sense

The idea that flashier is better simply must go. Will handhelds help us design lighter?

Tim Berners-Lee said in a recent Reuters article:

“A mass market exists for the mobile Internet, but it will remain untapped until designers make simpler Web pages that can be viewed properly on handsets…”

This is exactly what we need! In a time where broadband users are well over the 50% mark in America, web designers are eschewing the light and fast-loading sites of the dial-up modem days. We are loading up our sites with huge images, animations, and behaviors that do not necessarily help a typical website’s goals. Certainly this bloating effect does not help the other half of the population that is on a slow connection or the people who use an alternate device to access the site.

Do not get me wrong, I think there is a time and a place for Flash, lots of DOM scripting, and animations. It seems, however, like these things are being built and published just because we can, and we know so-and-so client can view it on their huge monitor and nice T1 connection. My philosophy is: do not use technology, images, or other web paraphernalia unless it directly enhances your site’s goals.
Otherwise you are wasting time and energy, and you are also frustrating a lot of potential customers and site visitors.

The Berners-Lee quote above and the rest of his comments in the Reuters piece bring up an important question: is the handheld era going to be another bottleneck that forces web designers to design light and fast pages? My answer is a hopeful “yes”.

That future notwithstanding, I wish more web designers and developers would build simpler and lighter web sites and applications. Then the device limitation or end users’ connection speed will be of little importance, and the site’s message will be broadcast swiftly to all.
Article and quotes via Slashdot.

Author: Lance Willett

My name is Lance, I am a blogger and web craftsman making high-quality, engaging, and user-centered experiences for people that use WordPress. México-born. Product Excellence Manager at Automattic.