Be Careful Knocking Web Brutalism Design

created on Feb 15, 2017

The hypocrisy bug might bite.

Today, I read this post at poynterdesign.org titled Brutalism in web design: hoping it is not a forever trend. The top of the post contains a screenshot of Craigslist. Excerpts from the article:

Is brutal, ugly web design the hottest trend? I certainly hope not, but this article makes us take a second (in horror) look.

Tell me it isn’t so, please. It’s too early in 2017 to be confronted with this Washington Post piece (from [May] 2016) with a headline that reads: The hottest trend in Web design is making intentionally ugly, difficult sites.

I let you read the article and explore Web brutalism-inspired sites on your own, starting with Craiglist, which Deville describes as “totally a brutalistic website…and commercially, very successful.”

Perhaps Web brutalism could be the starting point of creating a new design, but, of course, editing the brutal parts before the final design is launched.

"Pretty", modern web design may be synonymous with clunky, bloated, reader-hostile design.

Maybe I focus too much on the download speed of an HTML page and its assets. I'm not referring to the internet connection speed. I'm discussing the amount of data that a user is forced to download even over a slow connection in order to view a web page.

https://www.webpagetest.org/result/170215_K0_KRPN
https://www.poynterdesign.org/blogs/2017/1/9/brutalism-in-web-design-hoping-it-is-not-a-forever-trend
From: Dulles, VA - Chrome - Cable
2/15/2017, 10:50:25 AM
First View Fully Loaded:
6.108 seconds
57 requests
Bytes In: 2,243 KB
Cost: $$$$$

2.2 megabytes have to be downloaded to view that article. !!! It's a short text article that contains the Craigslist screenshot.

40% of the downloaded bytes were due to fonts. 881 KB.
About 36% of the downloaded bytes were due to JavaScript. 787 KB.

It's a simple text article. Why does it need to make 57 requests?

Contrast to Craigslist.

https://www.webpagetest.org/result/170215_TB_KRQG
https://toledo.craigslist.org
From: Dulles, VA - Chrome - Cable
2/15/2017, 10:50:45 AM
First View Fully Loaded
1.211 seconds
9 requests
Bytes In: 185 KB
Cost: $

Only 9 requests.

Design includes many things, including the amount of crapware that publishers force onto users. Unnecessary bloat associated with a single web page can create a miserable reading experience for users on slow connections, older phones, older desktop/laptop CPUs, and older desktop/laptop monitors.