The Slowing Web

Designing for the Slowing Web

Jonathan Bailey of the Blog Herald wrote about Surfing the Slow Web, a summary of his recent experience trying to connect to the Internet as an evacuee from Hurricane Gustav. While most web designers are pushing the limits of heavy handed design towards high bandwidth, the world still doesn’t work that fast or wide.

I’ve been reading about the lo-fi web (media files created for low end technology). They are able to open faster and they work for people who haven’t bought a new computer system/ media reader in the past six months or less.

My own computer is a few years old, though not so old I expect it to stop running. I find my computer runs slow when it comes to sites using Flash or videos. I tend to skip them or shut them down rather than waiting for them to load. Usually, there isn’t anything I really needed to see as most of the Flash are ads. This means all that extra time we pay to our ISP (Internet service providers) is at least partially for viewing ads. I think it’s pretty poor that part of my bill for the Internet is so I can pay for the time I view ads I’d be quite happy not seeing.

So far I haven’t had old software issues. But this is because I changed to Ubuntu Linux instead of sticking with MS Windows. My previous computer was a terrific IBM which ran on MS Windows ME until it just couldn’t work with most of the software I was using. I never had trouble with Windows ME. Ubuntu has been good too but I’ve had to learn how to use an new OS (operating system) of course.

Anyway, I think the slowing web will become a bigger issue and cause a wide gap to crop up between people who have money to burn on the latest software and hardware and those who don’t. Also, if there were a disaster or some other event which caused a lot of the computers that keep the Internet running to go down, what would happen to the communication online? So many people rely on the Internet to keep in touch and know what’s going on in the world and their local community.

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