Sunday, April 8, 2012

Web Standards

After reading "You Are Not a Gadget" by Jaron Lanier, I began to think about all the "web standards" that are currently in place of which I am not even cognizant. I then found this interesting infographic on the history of the web and various web standards:

At the end of his chapter, Lanier says that in the work of digital creative materials, it is always good to be skeptical. He notes that if it were not for certain people, the internet would look very different. We'd be tied into ugly fonts and designs simply because they were "locked in" by the general public. Instead, these guys pushed the envelope and lobbied for more flexible digital design when many others were simply content with the way things were. Lanier says about the internet: "These designs came together very recently, and there's a haphazard, accidental quality to them. Resist the easy grooves they guide you into. If you love a medium made of software, there's a danger that you will become entrapped in someone else's recent careless thoughts. Struggle against that!

What I find especially interesting in this infographic is the "Predictions" section at the bottom. I think we (collective internet-users as a whole) struggle with the spontaneity of the internet, while trying to keep some cohesive look and feel to the way things operate. This can be expanded into the world of mobile, with Android and iPhone as a great example. The look and feel of Android applications vary drastically. However, Apple keeps a better handle on and has many more standards for the way an application designed for their phones works. There are templates of buttons and navigation bars that make all applications feel as if they were developed by the same person. Apple also has a somewhat rigorous process before an application made by a third-party is available on iTunes. It seems surprising that a company that is known for creativity, simplicity and forward thinking would have such strict standards. However, I think this is the very reason they are so successful with that creativity.

What "internet trends" do you think will become standards in the near future by way of "lock in"?

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