It’s not because of any sort of technical limitations. No, if a website is slow it’s because performance was not prioritized. It’s because when push came to shove, time and resources were spent on other features of a site and not on making sure that site loads quickly.
This goes back to what many have been stating as of late: performance is a cultural problem.
I make the Web with a lot of different people each day. We push pixels and stress over things like the experience and the performance, but most of that lives in the here and now. Websites evolve. Links break, designs change. Sites go offline.
People can visit what I make now, but how long will it last? Most web design has a shelf-life. Does it make an impression? Will that last? Web design alone won’t last or make a strong impression. Pair that with people’s content, their blog posts, the stories and life’s work they share – that will last. Hopefully, whatever I’m doing gets out of the way of that.
Because I just provide a frame and canvas for the artwork.
Since transitioning away from journalism and writing to working on the Web some six-plus years ago, I’ve struggled explaining to my family what I do.
Sure, there’s the go-to: I make websites. Or: I help people publish online. I help people tell their stories on the Web. That’s my favorite.
When I explained to my mom what Automattic did when I joined, and the mission behind WordPress, she started to see why I shifted my lifelong ambition of writing words to writing code. But I never really shifted. I’m still making. Now, I’m making the Web, and it’s messy. It can’t be clearly defined on most days and damn, it’s so fluid.
I guess I just make the Web with the rest of you. And I love it.
Listen to Andrew Clarke, Jeffrey Zeldman and Dan Mall talk about art direction and creativity on the Web in this episode of the Unfinished Business podcast. I loved this episode because of the great topics and how they intersect with the flexibility and unknown future of the Web.
In The Long Web, Jeremy Keith talks about how with the Web, we’re building something greater than the Library of Alexandria. But to do that well, we need to pay attention to the things that matter, like HTML, progressive enhancement, performance and URL structure. His message is simple: build your sites for the long haul. Make them last. It’s something we don’t think about enough in the rush to create the next thing on the Web.