Published: 08 December 2014 I travel between Ramsgate and Ashford by train and the mobile internet connection is the equivalent of having packets of data brought to me by carrier pigeon. So for me to want to look something up on the train I either have to be very desperate or very excited!  

This morning I was waiting for two blog sites to load. The first had text colour set to white on a white background, only it wasn’t a white background it was a background image I was waiting ten years to download. The other site, the owner had locked the view port so I couldn’t zoom in and also helpfully put an invisible button right through the content area. So if I tried to swipe down I was redirected to the next page. Was it frustrating do you think?  

If you go way back a few years there was no CSS, no JavaScript just an html file chock full of the information you were looking for. You could click on the links to navigate the site, the html files were tiny and you could download them even on the modems of the day in milliseconds. Black text, white background wrapping to whatever size of display. Mobiles - hell screen size in general was irrelevant the content would fill the space available.  

Between then and now we seem to have lost sight of the most important thing the content. The css and JavaScript is enormous to cope with more and more browsers/devices. Umpteen megabytes of images is the norm. Amazing JavaScript that rewrites the DOM for mobile “because it needs to be different for mobile”.  

It needs to be right for mobile from the get go. If it’s wrong for mobile then it’s probably wrong for SEO. If it’s wrong for SEO then quite frankly it’s not right for the end user who’s there for the content they are searching for.  

The various designers and client side developers are currently sharpening pitch forks and lighting torches. But you have to say that the simple elegance of html and content has been polluted by design and css. Am I saying lets get rid of all styling? No of course not, for one reason it would never happen. But you know what? I just wish the styling would go away and let me read the document I came for. 

Richard Brisley

Lead Server-Side Developer


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