Internet design is about more than economy

I was depressed to read your Internet design feature (DW 30 April). Unsurprisingly it took the standard anti-plug-in/ anti-frames/ anti-effort position championing banal “designs” existing solely for the benefit of the “lowest bandwidth”, “least web savvy”, “most outdated PC” user.

High traffic at all costs. This means bigger banner charges, more profits, do nothing that might challenge what little Mr and Ms average might have misheard already.

Having been designing websites since 1994, I remember well the eras of Web development that are sited. However, I seem to remember most people turning off graphics on their browsers to avoid the huge numbers of banner ads, not the graphic content of the sites themselves.

I have also learned that big is not always best. Quality is often better than quantity especially where time is money like the Web. People learn fast. People get bored fast. Text based information is useful but we live in a world where people are used to responding to multiple sources of information, sound and vision, exploration and interaction. Play is the best way of learning.

Portals are only part of the Web experience. They are essential, especially at the beginning and at particular moments of a Web journey. You might keep them in your back pocket like a phrase book when visiting a foreign country.

It comes with the territory. Yes, you will have to update your browser regularly, yes, you may require a plug-in. Yes, it may take longer to download and therefore cost slightly more. You are being offered a rich experience. It’s not compulsory but you may just realise it was worth the extra.

I hoped that Design Week would take a more sophisticated view of the Internet and Web usage.

Paul Thurlow

jpt@g-club.net

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