Tag - Manifesto

assembled in 2016-2017

Most weeks, I find new and old web posts, related to this subject. These pages are mainly a dumping ground for links, excerpts, and quick thoughts.

storing links for page number 7 ...

aug 16, 2017 https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15027715

Most content websites have become such a massive crapfest of ad-bloat, bad UX, huge page sizes and general usability hell that it's nigh impossible that I'd be able to reach the actual content of a non AMP site in the first 5-10 seconds of clicking on its link. (On my phone that's an additional 1-2 seconds for registering the tap, and 1-2 seconds for navigating to the browser)

So say what you may, AMP (or FB Instant or its ilk) will prosper until the mobile web experience stops being so crappy.

First, no such thing as the "mobile web" exists. It's the web. Many times, people view the web with mobile devices, but it's the same web that can be viewed with desktop computers. Responsive web design permits sites to adjust the displays for different devices, but it's still the same web or http/https.

Second, the web experience, which includes viewing the web on mobile devices, is fine. The problem is not with the web. The problem is with how websites are designed.


This is a non-interactive text-only website. It shouldn't need anything beside HTML and CSS.


These text-only sites — which used to be more popular in the early days of the Internet, when networks were slower and bandwidth was at a premium – are incredibly useful, and not just during natural disasters. They load much faster, don’t contain any pop-ups or ads or autoplay videos, and help people with low bandwidth or limited Internet access. They’re also beneficial for people with visual impairments who use screen readers to navigate the Internet.

Proving, once again, that the web is not slow. Websites are slow because of how they are built. But these slow web design choices are probably governed by the media orgs' business models and by user experience people who design without empathy for the users.

More from the story:

There are many ways that news organizations can improve the ways they serve both low-bandwidth users and people with visual impairments by stripping out unnecessary elements and optimizing different parts of a website. To learn more, I reached out to front-end website designer J. Albert Bowden, who frequently tweets about accessibility and web design standards, to ask a few questions about how we might approach building text-only sites to help end users.

Kramer: I’m curious. What kinds of things can be stripped from sites for low-bandwidth users and people with visual impairments?

Bowden: Those are two very distinct user groups but some of the approaches bleed over and can be applied together. For low-bandwidth users: Cut the fluff. No pictures, no video, no ads or tracking. Text files are good enough here. Anything else is just fluff.

That's good web design advice for any-bandwidth users.

[Bowden:] For visually impaired users: I’m going to just talk about a11y [which is a shorthand way of referring to computer accessibility] here. A11y is best addressed in the foundation of a website, in the CSS, HTML, and JavaScript. There are other ways to go about doing it, but they are much more resource intensive and therefore are never going to be default for mainstream.

Typical user agents for those with visual impairments are screen readers, which rely on the foundation (literally HTML) of a website to interpret its content and regurgitate it back to the user.

Kramer: Is text-only the way to go? Are there ways to think about preloading images and/or other methods that might help these users?

Bowden: Text in HTML is the way to go here; you cover accessibility issues and SEO bots, while simultaneously also being usable on the maximum number of devices possible. HTML and CSS are forgiving in the sense that you can make mistakes in them, and something will still be rendered to the user. Browsers are built with backwards compatibility, so combining them all grants you the extended coverage. Meaning that basic sites will work on nearly any phone. Any computer. Any browser.

Once you deviate from this path, all bets are off. Some are solid, no doubt, but most are shaky at least, and downright broken at worst. JavaScript is the bee’s knees and you can do anything in the world with it ... but if you make certain mistakes, your web page will not render in the browser; the browser will choke to death.


Hands down the best news site design of 2017. lite.cnn.io

That October 2017 Poynter story contained a link to a 2015 Poynter story.


Consider creating a text-only site. At a recent accessibility hackathon, I sat with visually impaired people who said that this text-only version of the NPR website was the best news website because their screen readers easily parsed the material.

You can also check your website to make sure that it’s usable for people with color impairments, like color blindness. Color Safe helps you choose colors that meet WCAG contrast thresholds, while the Color Contrast Analyzer simulates different forms of color impairment so you can learn which colors may work.

Oct 14, 2017

https://www.codementor.io/kwasiamantin/undefined-cmglhfnfv https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15472627

https://www.neustadt.fr/essays/against-a-user-hostile-web https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15611122

"How the BBC News website has changed over the past 20 years" http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-41890165 https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15730218

"Hundreds of web firms record 'every keystroke'" http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-42065650 https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15786887

Businesses existed before the creation of Javascript. Conducting most business does not require a Turing complete language and executing arbitrary code on every document. The HTML

is all that is needed to conduct business. The web was created as documents+forms in the IBM 3270 model, which businesses and other other organizations were using since the 1970s.

Another HN comment:

Whenever someone complains about a website not working without javascript enabled, someone inevitably responds "it's 2017, you can expect javascript to be enabled". I think that piece of knowledge is outdated:

  • Late 1990's: static html documents + forms - early 2000's: shitty DHTML scripts that added nothing - early 2010's: javascript + gracefully downgrading sites - 2015/16: required useful javascript everywhere - early 2017: trackers everywhere, html5 popups, trackers, spywhere, trackers, bitcoin miners, trackers, etc, etc.

2017 is the year where you NEED a javascript blocker. What's the use of having any security at all if you're going to leave the biggest attack vector in modern times completely unprotected?

Plus, the web has become completely unusable without a script blocker.

A person responded with:

When you exaggerate like that, it diminishes your point. I use the web all day, every day and I have never installed a script blocker.

It's not an exaggeration. It's nearly impossible to read media websites without JavaScript disabled, especially over an LTE connection, and definitely over a 3G connection. But even with a fast connection, older computers get bogged down when accessing media websites with JavaScript enabled.

January 2018

A letter about Google AMP http://ampletter.org https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16108553 - over 300 comments

HN comments:

Testing and ranking website response time, using 3G testing at webpagetest.org.



https://www.webpagetest.org/result/180202_3D_c86d014ace02663a6ab00ddc688b82eb/ sawv.org - homepage From: Dulles, VA - Chrome - 3G 2/1/2018, 10:00:43 PM First View Fully Loaded: Time: 1.390 seconds Requests: 2 Bytes In: 9 KB 100 % of the download was HTML, which was 6,413 bytes.


My specifications were quite simple.

  • A simple site to share texts and images
  • A cheap site to consult on mobile
  • Readable source code for people learning HTML and CSS
  • A fun site to edit (as in 1997) where you can quickly add interesting features.