Dust off the desktop, save the internet

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Your mobile addiction is killing the internet. This is a fact.

You know how people talk about the mobile revolution?. What they're really talking about is the get up close and personal revolution. The, we have everything you want, and it fits in your pocket revolution, which is synonymous with the "It conveniently solves our biggest marketing problems as well" revolution, so which came first, the chicken, or the egg?

I'm here to tell you, you've been snow jobbed, big time. The worst part is, you're killing the environment you're using that brand new phablet or iPhone on as you browse it. It's like the digital version of toxic waste, minus the topless activists and monkey wrenchers.

So, sure, easy to say, hard to prove, hell no. Easy on both counts.

Let's talk tech, at the 3rd grade level (web design class starts Pre-k nowadays, right) Your web isn't the same on all devices. When people program, they have to program to an optimal size. If your screen is bigger, it stretches things, if it's smaller it squeezes them. Things look crappy, no uniform standards. #web2.0problems.

You know how it's awesome when you kill two birds with one stone? Remember cookies? Oh, we all hated cookies. When people hate things, they do things to make them go away. Eventually, the arms race on your desktop was won, by the anti-ad, open source brave new world.

Or was it?

Thinner, lighter, bigger screen, sexier, access everywhere. What's too good to be true is too good to be without drawbacks. Two things happened when the mobile revolution started. Apple beat pretty much everyone in the battle to turn the MP3 player into a phone, and Facebook frankensteined together what would become the model native advertising system. These two things are the birds you're eating for lunch, with a side of internet, and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see why.

When things got smaller, it was an issue. Lots of people used desktops still, but everything on mobile was crap. Sites needed to get smaller, so some people developed "mobile" sites, or complete websites made to mimic the most popular features of their "desktop site". Remember I said this was 3rd grade?

But that wasn't enough.

The introduction of a million formats and sizes of screens and devices meant a mobile site had the same problem desktops had, a variation in a 14 and 17 inch screen is about the same as the difference in a half inch on most mobile screens. That's huge. So the powers that be pulled out the proverbial stone and gave it a chuck.

They missed the bird, and hit the internet. Typical...

We got responsive web design, and if you haven't heard, it's the shit that fuels the best parts of the internet today. You've been sold on it, hard. Combine the marketing budgets of Samsung, Apple, Microsoft, HTC, Google, well, you get the picture. They're all pumping the same thing, smaller, faster, everywhere. As a consumer, it's not your fault, you really don't stand a chance, and also, smartphones are all shiny and pretty. They have Angry Birds and stuff...

The problem is that what "responsive" web design ACTUALLY is amounts to a website sized App. People love apps. Every client I've ever had wants an App, and about 4% have a clue why they should have one. Amazon wants you to shop by app, Netflix wants you to watch by app, Kik wants you to chat by App, Snapchat wants you to sext by app, the list, it's too damn long people.

We're appifying our fucking internet and it has to stop.

You know how many cool features the desktop web supports?

ALL OF THEM.

This isn't a complicated argument. As the best designers and marketers in the world push you into the mobile revolution, where your location data is compromised, your shopping and email habits scrutinized, and your personal data catalogued, you're also degrading the quality of the thing you simply can't live without, and that's not a catch-22, because it's avoidable.

Do yourself a favor and dust off your desktop. Get a big freaking screen, and revel in the glory of the real HD web. Don't buy the 4 inch HD screen bullshit, really, be a little smarter than that. There's a lot out there to be found, amazing sites and development projects, but guess what, you can't access most of them on your mobile, because until someone with the money to back it comes along, they have to develop their own "mobile strategy" for how they're going to make their shit work on your phone, or tablet, or (fml) smartwatch. This means the most innovative and original of people lose 95% of the audience because they aren't designing for a stripped down product that's more about feeding the dumb user a backwards experience for more money than it is innovating.

Again, these are simple facts. I'm not saying there's not tons on the mobile web that make it great, I'm saying it's a shitty substitute for the wide vista. It's like the crackling fireplace on your TV, or watching a Kodak slideshow of the Grand Canyon. When the primary tool we're hitching our future as a civilization to is being degraded for marketing and ease of use, it has serious consequences for all of us. That makes us stakeholders, which means we have to start thinking about what we're doing, why we're doing it, and what we're supporting by continuing to do it.

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Comments (1)

  • Dabitch's picture
    Dabitch

    For the common user, there's three internets now. The phone (apps), the desktop (workapps) and the TV (Entertainment channels). Don't read the comments is now a mantra, and the death of the long written word has been a long time coming - but ot will never actually die. Maybe we'll appify articles for Kindle.

    For everyone else there's also darknet.

    Sep 29, 2014

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