The nature of the web is changing. Total page weight is rapidly increasing. Images and videos are replacing text. Tracking scripts and analytics seem to be becoming increasingly common. Major data breaches exposing personal information of users are a regular occurrence. More and more sites seem to be hiding information behind pay walls.
Some of the best content on the web, it is true, is created by people who can make a living out of it. However, if you look at a random selection of popular websites many of them seem to share some unfortunate features in common:
- Large page weight contributing to slow load speeds and expensive downloads for those on metered connections.
- Poor accessibility: many sites omit aria attributes and use non standard ‘hacks’ to achieve layout.
- Heavy reliance on tracking scripts that monitor the activities of visitors and record their personal information without their consent.
This is bad for users, often bad for the site itself as slow loading and browser incompatibilities in scripts drive visitors away, and bad for the environment as these pages generally produce a lot of carbon per view.
In light of this I have been brainstorming a set of 3 voluntary principles that website creators could adhere to to try and make the web a better place:
- Respect the privacy of your users.
- Minimise your impact on infrastructure and the environment.
- Make your content accessible for all.
If you want to get involved, whether just signing up to follow the principles, or helping to raise awareness you can do so at the better web alliance website. This project is still in the very early stages, but eventually it is hoped that it can provide useful resources for developers hoping to make the web a better place, such as links to tutorials and how to articles.