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17 September 2010

Progress or Merely the Illusion of Such

Are we realizing any real gains, or merely running in place?

As of 2010, we have much better internet infrastructure, but the World Wide Web has become so bloated with extraneous information and poor design that it chews it all up. ReadWriteWeb offers an insightful article  on the matter of technological innovation. The mysterious "Guest Writer" describes, in quantitative terms, citing multiple data sources, that a faster internet speed hasn't translated into any real gains for end-users, particularly in page load times.

Why not? Because of the vast preponderance of excessive CRUD that is loaded on web pages: links placed as much for SEO (search engine optimization) as elucidation, videos, related stories from the past, possibly related stories in the future, content-based advertising that is oddly prescient and so forth.

ReadWriteWeb uses the Official White House website in 1996 versus the current White House site as an example. Screen shots are included, and as always, make the point most eloquently.

Please be aware, this is no thinly veiled (nor blatantly obvious) partisan commentary. The trend is not associated with political party, nor with any Presidential Administration.
"We have the ability to deliver more content in the same amount of time as 1996, but we're doing it very inefficiently. End users haven't experienced any true acceleration in [page] load times".
For more, see the full story via ReadWriteWeb: It's Not About the Network Anymore.


  1. Makes sense though. If a page can load in a second without annoying the user, then as a designer I'm likely to put in enough content to fill the full second, rather than putting in half the content and saving the half second that the end user won't notice anyway.

    Though I must say (in contradiction to myself) that google is by far the most responsive and therefore pleasant site to use. Also, things *are* faster now. Maybe is no faster, but now I can stream video. And, despite Mozy etc, I can't back up my computer to the cloud because upload is just to slow, so I look forward to the next 10x improvement for that alone.


  2. It is interesting that Google is most responsive. I've noticed that when my PC is just about to crash, nothing else working, Google still functions. I suppose it shouldn't be a surprise, as I'm using Google's Chrome browser, however, it does give one a bit of that creepy-ish 1984 feeling....


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