Bookmarked Why are hyperlinks blue? | The Mozilla Blog by an author (blog.mozilla.org)

The internet has ingrained itself into every aspect of our lives, but there’s one aspect of the digital world that I bet you take for granted. Did you ev

Elise Blanchard explores the archives to find out why hyperlinks are blue. She traces it back to Mosiac, but cannot find any explanation for why. What is also strange is that there seems to have been two separate developments at the same time:

Our “link blue” had never shown up in user interfaces before 1993, and suddenly it appears in two instances within two short months of each other in two separate browsers at two different universities being built at the same time.

Blanchard believes that the real reason behind the push was Windows 3.1 and the support for colour monitors.

Mosaic came out during an important time where support for color monitors was shifting; the standard was for hyperlinks to use black text with some sort of underline, hover state or border. Mosaic chose to use blue, and they chose to port their browser for multiple operating systems. This helped Mosaic become the standard browser for internet use, and helped solidify its user interface as the default language for interacting with the web.

Bookmarked Website Carbon Calculator | How is your website impacting the planet? (Website Carbon Calculator)

The internet consumes a lot of electricity. 416.2TWh per year to be precise. To give you some perspective, that’s more than the entire United Kingdom.

A site designed by Wholegrain Digital on how to measure the impact of a site on the planet. Tom Greenwood also provides some tips on making your site more energy efficient. This is something I have been wondering about recently, especially in following Doug Belshaw’s work on his site.

“Jeff Kettle” in The internet consumes extraordinary amounts of energy. Here’s how we can make it more sustainable ()

Liked Rule 1: No breakage (Scripting News)

At UserLand, a company I founded a long time ago, we had a rule called Rule 1. It said simply: No breakage. It meant you couldn’t change the environment such that apps that ran in version N did not run in version N+1. It meant you took longer to release a new version because once released, you had to live with it forever. This rule came from bad experiences when we did things that broke users and developers. Since we were both the developers of the platform and users of the platform we had a realistic perspective of this. #

Bookmarked FROM MY TO ME (INTERFACECRITIQUE)

Don’t see making your own web page as a nostalgia, don’t participate in creating the netstalgia trend. What you make is a statement, an act of emancipation. You make it to continue a 25-year-old tradition of liberation.

To understand the history of the Web and the role of its users, it is important to acknowledge that people who built their homes, houses, cottages, places, realms, crypts, lairs, worlds, dimensions [Fig.1–13] were challenging the architecture and the protocols, protocols in a figurative not technical meaning. Users hijacked the first home page of the browser and developed this concept in another direction.6 A user building, moving in, taking control over a territory was never a plan. It was a subversive practice, even in 1995.

In an extract from “Turing Complete User. Resisting Alienation in Human-Computer-Interaction”, Olia Lialina traces a history of the people who challenged the architecture and protocols in the development of the web. He explains how this has evolved to web focused on graphic design.

There is no web design and web designers any more, there are graphic designers and developers again, front-end and back-end developers this time. For me as a net artist and new media design educator, this splitting of web designer into graphic designer and front-end developer is bitter, because it is the death of a very meaningful profession.

Lialina closes with a call to reclaim the web:

Don’t collaborate! Don’t post your texts where you are not allowed to turn it into hypertext.

Don’t post your pictures where you can’t link them to whatever you like. Don’t use content management systems that turn your GIFs into JPEGs. Don’t use hashtags, don’t accept algorithmic timelines. In short, make a web page and link to others who still have one.

Leaving monopolists and/or using alternatives is easy to suggest. And many of us made the first step – for example, created a page on neocities.org or on tilde.club, or even bought a superglue.it kit and hosted their home page at their actual home, supporting the Reclaim hosting initiative.

This reminds me of other histories of the web, such as Parimal Satyal’s small web, Eevee’s dive into the world of CSSCharlie Owen’s call to return to the beauty and weirdness found in the early web and Kicks Condor’s discussion of what we left in the old web.

“Reverend” in Known Issues with the Web Garden | bavatuesdays ()

Replied to Where did my webmentions go? (johnjohnston.info)

A couple of days ago I noticed the webmentions from bridgy had stopped coming in to this blog. It took me a while but I eventually noticed that the icons an links to syndicated posts were not showing up on my posts.

I really like your point John about ‘technical debt’:

I am again reminded about the technical debt in using IndieWeb technologies on this blog without the full understanding of what is going on.

I recently went looking for where I changed the footer of my blog to update the images. Spent thirty minutes looking. Gave up.

I am still glad I do it, but I do sometimes worry. On the positive side, it really helps with my work in supporting others and thinking of what questions to consider. Also highlights the importance of clear documentation.

Bookmarked Rediscovering the Small Web (neustadt.fr)
Parimal Satyal explores the world of the small web. This starts with a history of the web and the creation of spaces using HTML and CSS, where you depended on linking between and to different sites to navigate around. This is in stark contrast to the commercial web that is organised around products and optimised search. For Satyal, the modern web of marketing loses much of the creativity of the early days.

As fun as it is to explore what’s out there, the best part is really to join in and make your own website. Not on closed platforms or on social media mediated by ad companies, but simply in your own little corner of the web. It’s the best way to see how simple and open the web really is.

You could easily put up those drawings you’ve been making, share your thoughts and ideas, or reviews of your favourite whiskys. Make a website to share your writing tips or your best recipes. Or a list of your favourite addresses in your city for travelers who might be visiting.

It is interesting to read this along side Eevee’s dive into the world of CSS, Charlie Owen’s call to return to the beauty and weirdness found in the early web and Kicks Condor’s discussion of what we left in the old web. I was also left thinking again about Tom Critchlow’s discussion of small b blogging. It would seem that Facebook recognises the lack of creativity associated with the modern web with its latest experiment. and creativity

via Alan Levine

Bookmarked The rise and fall of Adobe Flash (arstechnica.com)

Before Flash Player sunsets this December, we talk its legacy with those who built it.

Richard Moss reflects on the rise and fall of Adobe Flash. Stemming from a sketching application, the creators eventually pivoted to online animations. In 1997, the application was acquired by Macromedia and the name changed from FutureSplash Animator to Flash. This association gave Flash a foothold on the web.

Starting from around 2005, McNeely told Ars, top Flash game developers could earn five or six figures in sponsorship deals per game. Most were getting paid this sort of money just to have promotional material for another business included on their loading and/or title screens.

The Flash entertainment boom wasn’t limited just to Newgrounds, either. McNeely’s Armor Games peaked at around 1.2 million visitors a day, he told Ars. Several other Flash game and animation portals, including Kongregate, Addicting Games, and adultswim.com, got massive numbers, too.

There were a number of things that marked the days, including the rise of the touch screen, security issues, as well as its proprietary nature. Some of these issues were encapsulated in Steve Jobs’ open letter.

Bookmarked No Room for Design (tedium.co)

Of the many things that social platforms have taken away from us, perhaps the most disappointing is the freedom to customize our spaces. We need it back.

Ernie Smith discusses the lose of design and customisation on the web. He reflects on spaces like Substack, Facebook and Medium.

Walled gardens are kept up very carefully from a design perspective. They don’t have weeds. Instead, you get a plot—a spot where your entire presence online lives. This is great if you want some modest lines to paint within, but as soon as you have any sort of ambition, you find yourself stifled by the platform pulling the strings.

This is in contrast to spaces like MySpace and Tumblr. Although customisations have provided an avenue for other activities, which have compromised platforms like MySpace, something is lost in a focus on security.

I guess the flip side of all this is that some people would rather not think about such aspects and are instead comfortable with the slick experience offered inside the walled garden. This is something I have found in my discussions with others of the IndieWeb.

Bookmarked CO2 emissions on the web by Danny van Kooten’s blog (dannyvankooten.com)

Your content site probably doesn’t need JavaScript. You probably don’t need a CSS framework. You probably don’t need a custom font. Use responsive images. Extend your HTTP cache lifetimes. Use a static site generator or wp2static.com instead of dynamically generating each page on the fly, despite never changing. Consider ditching that third-party analytics service that you never look at anyway, especially if they also happen to sell ads. Run your website through websitecarbon.com. Choose a green web host.

Danny van Kooten unpacks the environmental impact of a website. I came upon this via Doug Belshaw and his decision to change his WordPress theme. It also touches on Clive Thompson’s post on sustainable web design.
Replied to How ‘Sustainable’ Web Design Can Help Fight Climate Change (Wired)

But even if small design tweaks don’t zero out the belching emissions of movies or bitcoin, they are still worth talking about. It’s good to shine a spotlight on the CO2 footprint of our daily software—it makes the value of lower-energy code feel tangible. Imagine if websites ditched their tracking bloatware and ran badges boasting about their spiffier performance and lower carbon footprint. Competitors would be green-with envy.

Clive, this discussion of sustainable reminds me of Mike Monteiro’s book on the difficult choices associated with ethical web design:

If the lessons in this book seem hard, it’s because they are meant to be. If the job I’m asking you to do seems difficult, it’s because it is. Hard and difficult aren’t the same as impossible. When it comes down to it, all I’m asking you to do is the job you signed up for.

It also reminds me Greg McVerry’s question critique of responding with a gif:

Do you really need that gif? If we think climate and energy think can I get my message across in text? Each gif uploaded and converted to movie? How much more energy is worth the engagement when the Arctic seacap is melting? #digped

Bookmarked Google Classroom and How Spaces Value People + Subtraction.com (webcache.googleusercontent.com)

At the end of the day though, that is all that Google Classroom amounts to: a tool built to meet lowest common denominator requirements from a sprawling community of administrators. Not a tool built for students. In Google Classroom, students are an afterthought and their experience of using the app amounts to little more than a formality. What seems to matter more is the vast complexity of the educational market and building a solution that works for as many institutions as possible. The app is for organizations, not students. And when you build a space with those priorities, how little you value people is abundantly clear.

Khoi Vinh provides his perspective on Google Classroom, questioning the material design, search and inability to personalise your experience.
Bookmarked How ‘dark patterns’ influence travel bookings (bbc.com)

If you’ve wondered whether there were actually 30 people trying to book the same flight as you, you’re not alone. As Chris Baraniuk finds, the numbers may not be all they seem.

Chris Baraniuk reports on the dark patterns prevelent online. This takes me back to Mike Monteiro’s book Ruined by Design.
Bookmarked Dark Patterns (darkpatterns.org)

Dark Patterns are tricks used in websites and apps that make you buy or sign up for things that you didn’t mean to. The purpose of this site is to spread awareness and to shame companies that use them.

Harry Brignull collates a number of tricks used in websites and apps to make users do things they don’t mean to.

Some of the types include:

  • Trick questions while filling in a form
  • Sneak into the purchase basket
  • Roach motel
  • Privacy sharing
  • Price comparison prevention
  • Misdirection and distraction
  • Hidden costs
  • Bait and switch
  • Guilting users into opting into something
  • Disguised ads
  • Forced continuity
  • Friend spam

via Dan Donahoo

Replied to The Real Dark Web by Charlie OwenCharlie Owen (sonniesedge.net)

I want to innovate. I love learning new things. It’s what attracted so many of us to this industry. But let’s take time to think about what we build, and how appropriate it is for any given situation.

Perhaps the client-side framework developed by a multi-billion dollar company isn’t the one that you should be pushing into the browser of your local grocery website? Perhaps the buildchains that require ancient dark magick to invocate are not appropriate on a team that simply compiles some Sass to CSS?

Charlie, this post reminds me of the importance of maintainers and how important they are as a foundation for innovation.
Bookmarked Cake or death: AMP and the worrying power dynamics of the web | Andrew Betts (trib.tv)

If Google was my doctor, they’d be currently explaining to my family that although the experiment they tried did sadly kill me, they got a ton of useful data from it, and they think they can definitely work on fixing that bug in the next version of the experiment.

As long as enough publishers continue to desperately walk into the test chamber, the experimentation will continue. And when in ten years time those of us who can afford it are for the second or third time trying to work out how to move to somewhere that doesn’t resemble a Max Mad movie, maybe we’ll wonder whether we should have done something to improve the way that 5 billion people get informed.

Andrew Betts discusses the current state of Accelerated Mobile Pages:

Accelerated Mobile Pages (Amp) offers a redesigned, slimmed-down version of HTML, the language in which web pages are written, and a set of rules for publishers and advertisers that stops them putting data-heavy graphics, interactive features and ads in their articles. As part of the programme, Google is also offering to store versions of the pages on its own servers around the world, and will show Amp articles in a carousel at the top of search results.(source)

He unpacks the user experience and the commercial benefits for Google. In the end, he argues that the experiment has gone on long enough and that we need the open web back now.