To be blunt, I feel we, the folks who have been involved with designing and developing for the web for a significant period of time–including me as I feel a strong sense of personal responsibility here–are in no small part responsible for it falling far short of its promise.
John weighs in on the clashing priorities of browser vendors.
Imagine if the web never got CSS. Never got a way to style content in sophisticated ways. It’s hard to imagine its rise to prominence in the early 2000s. I’d not be alone in arguing a similar lack of access to the sort of features inherent to the mobile experience that WebKit and the folks at Mozilla have expressed concern about would (not might) largely consign the Web to an increasingly marginal role.
A trashcan, a tyepface, and a tactile keyboard. Marcin gets obsessive (as usual).
From Xerox PARC to the World Wide Web:
The internet did not use a visual spatial metaphor. Despite being accessed through and often encompassed by the desktop environment, the internet felt well and truly placeless (or perhaps everywhere). Hyperlinks were wormholes through the spatial metaphor, allowing a user to skip laterally across directories stored on disparate servers, as well as horizontally, deep into a file system without having to access the intermediate steps. Multiple windows could be open to the same website at once, shattering the illusion of a “single file” that functioned as a piece of paper that only one person could hold. The icons that a user could arrange on the desktop didn’t have a parallel in online space at all.
This 1993 article by Mark Weiser is relevant to our world today.
Take intelligent agents. The idea, as near as I can tell, is that the ideal computer should be like a human being, only more obedient. Anything so insidiously appealing should immediately give pause. Why should a computer be anything like a human being? Are airplanes like birds, typewriters like pens, alphabets like mouths, cars like horses? Are human interactions so free of trouble, misunderstanding, and ambiguity that they represent a desirable computer interface goal? Further, it takes a lot of time and attention to build and maintain a smoothly running team of people, even a pair of people. A computer I need to talk to, give commands to, or have a relationship with (much less be intimate with), is a computer that is too much the center of attention.
Steps you can take to secure your phone and computer. This is especially useful in countries where ubiquitous surveillance is not only legal, but mandated by law (such as China, Australia, and the UK).
Under the hood it’s the same Blink engine that power’s the regular Opera browser (and Chrome) but I really like the interface on this experiment. It’s described as being a “concept browser”, much like a “concept car”, which is a nice way of framing experiments like this. More concept browsers please!
Yummy wallpapers for your desktop, tablet, and phone, from NASA and ESA.
I’d like to do this for all Clearleft web projects.
How important is mobile for @nytimes? We’re blocking access to our home page on desktop in our building.
I can relate 100% to what Dave is saying here:
I’m disenchanted with desktop. That conviction runs so deep, I groan when I see a desktop layout JPEG.
All too often we talk the talk about taking a mobile first approach, but we rarely walk the walk. Most designers and developers still think of the small-screen viewport as the exception, not the norm.
This isn’t a scientific data sample, but Jonathan’s anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that most web designers and developers are still thinking with a desktop-first mentality. Which is crazy.
Dan Bricklin—co-creator of the original VisiCalc spreadsheet—turns his attention to responsive design, specifically for input-centric tasks.
Details on how the BBC Responsive News team plan to eventually make their m-dot site scale all the way up to be the default site. This “planting a seed” approach works really well, not least for political reasons.
A great meaty piece from Cennydd, diving deep into the tricky question of context.
A great piece by Jason analysing the ever-blurring lines between device classes.
Mind you, there is one question he doesn’t answer which would help clear up his framing of the situation. That question is:
What’s a web app?
David takes a look at worldwide trends in web browsing, pointing out where mobile traffic exceeds desktop …and we’re not necessarily talking about smartphones here either.
It would be possible to travel from the Niger Delta on the west coast of Africa, to the horn of Africa on the east coast, without passing through a country where people surf more on desktop than a mobile phone.
A nice visualisation of Apple’s transition From desktop to mobile over ten years, one Daring Fireball article at a time.
Oh, and happy birthday, Daring Fireball.
Remember when I linked to the story of Twitter’s recent redesign of their mobile site and I said it would be great to see it progressively enhanced up to the desktop version? Well, here’s a case study that does just that.
A nifty little Mac app from Tom: it changes your desktop wallpaper to a satellite view of your current location.
Alas, it requires Lion, an operating system I’ve been trying to avoid installing.
Luke enumerates the reasons why Bag Check has a separate desktop website rather than one responsive URL for desktop and mobile. They’re good reasons but I think they could all be addressed with some clever conditional loading, especially seeing as the site was, of course, built mobile first.