The bar has risen again in 2017

Remember these and all of the 500 errors?

Evolution never stops. On some days it can feel exhausting and on others it is exhilarating.

I was thinking about the bar for user experiences and how far we have come as an industry. Users expect fast, reliable experiences that are silky smooth. Long gone are the 500 “Error can’t connect to the database” of the slashdot era. But we still see a tale of two Web’s as we browse around from link to link and sometimes time travel through experiences.

On one Web we have slow experiences that are pinch and zoom with poor performing ads weighing everything down. We see the scroll handlers freeze the world as we try to interact with the site. This is the Web that we curse. The one where we reach for the special reader mode.

But then we get to the delightful Web. This one works seamlessly across mobile and desktop. It is fast and snappy, with no dinosaurs to be found. We see pleasant non-janky animations that feel right. Gone are the awful signup forms and instead the browser and auth providers take care of it for you, even through a nice payments experience. We find ourselves going back to this Web when we can, and dreaming of a world in which more of it was like this.

To be able to build something that belongs in the world of delight we need to see the pioneering work of 2016 become the default of 2017.

To reach the optimal performance and reliability we need:

  • code splitting, prefetch-ing and pipeline of data to be tuned (e.g. PRPL)
  • service workers at the helm
  • and we need all of the tooling giving you the honest truth on where the current experience stands and where to go next.

Fortunately, many of the frameworks are taking the work done on the leading edge and baking it into their CLIs and when I find myself on something slow, I often go over and tap on a fast bookmark.

Going beyond performance, there are new capabilities coming this year that will open up more “wow, I didn’t know the Web could do that” and I am excited to see what people come up with there.