Making Simpler Web Sites Makes Sense

Tim Berners-Lee said in a recent Reuters article:

“A mass market exists for the mobile Internet, but it will remain untapped until designers make simpler Web pages that can be viewed properly on handsets…”

This is exactly what we need! In a time where broadband users are well over the 50% mark in America, web designers are eschewing the light and fast-loading sites of the dial-up modem days. We are loading up our sites with huge images, animations, and behaviors that do not necessarily help a typical website’s goals. Certainly this bloating effect does not help the other half of the population that is on a slow connection or the people who use an alternate device to access the site.

Do not get me wrong, I think there is a time and a place for Flash, lots of DOM scripting, and animations. It seems, however, like these things are being built and published just because we can, and we know so-and-so client can view it on their huge monitor and nice T1 connection. My philosophy is: do not use technology, images, or other web paraphernalia unless it directly enhances your site’s goals.
Otherwise you are wasting time and energy, and you are also frustrating a lot of potential customers and site visitors.

The Berners-Lee quote above and the rest of his comments in the Reuters piece bring up an important question: is the handheld era going to be another bottleneck that forces web designers to design light and fast pages? My answer is a hopeful “yes”.

That future notwithstanding, I wish more web designers and developers would build simpler and lighter web sites and applications. Then the device limitation or end users’ connection speed will be of little importance, and the site’s message will be broadcast swiftly to all.
Article and quotes via Slashdot.

BodyBasics Goes Live

Simpledream is proud to announce the launch of a new website today!

BodyBasics Health and Fitness is a private, professional and friendly wellness studio offering personal training services that emphasize lifestyle improvement, posture, body mechanics and making exercise fun. Located in Tucson, Arizona, the studio is led by certified personal trainer and LifeCoach Christopher Litten. BodyBasics approached simpledream web studio in late 2004 for this project, and after a lot of hard work it is up and ready to go.

Work simpledream performed for BodyBasics Health and Fitness includes content development, graphic design, web branding and identity, and web design and development.

Visit this project at

SXSW Redux

Austin was great, and a good choice for a conference/festival like South by Southwest. The music part of the festival was just getting started when Aaron and I left on Tuesday evening. Even though I’ve had a day or two at home, I am still trying really hard to process all the information and ideas that are in my head and in my notebook.

The biggest thing I wanted to take away from SXSW was a bigger picture of the web community, culture, and technology—which certainly happened. Though some topics were discussed were exactly relevant to my everyday life and work, almost everything could be taken and applied to what the work here at simpledream web studio.

Here are a few simple ideas that I learned:

  • Balance and moderation are the keys to success
  • Bigger is not always better (act your size)
  • Do a few things well, and the rest will come later
  • Web standards are alive and well

In case you were wondering: my two favorite panels were Design Eye for the Idea Guy and Making Big Things Happen with Small Teams. Both were great in terms of real-life examples of design and development principles.

Pictures, ideas, and more blog entries to come later as I process and review my notes and thoughts. In the meantime, James Archer posted some great shots already on his blog.

By the way, my favorite after-hours event was “Vox Nox”, where New Riders authors gave us their “B-sides”. It was great! Check out some photos of the event on Flickr.

SXSW Preparation

Only three days left until the start of 2005 SXSW Interactive Festival in Austin. Tomorrow I hit the road with Aaron in “Scout”, the trusty Subaru Forester that will take us all the way to the Texas capitol and back. I’m severely excited!

This is my first time at “South By”, so it should be not only an eye-opener in terms of learning but also a good chance to share ideas, tips, and gripes with like-minded web design and interactive media professionals. The man who helped inspire me to get into the web as a hobby (then) and a career (now), Jeffrey Zeldman, will be opening the Interactive conference this Saturday with a keynote speech. From there it will be panels, award ceremonies, film viewings, get-togethers, and lots more.

I had a pretty hard time deciding between some of the panel choices, since there were superb topics and panelists at several coinciding times during the 4 days of the conference. Here’s my tentative schedule for the panels:

 Saturday, March 12th
 3:30 pm: How to Hot-Wire the Creative Process
 5:00 pm: How to Make Big Things Happen With Small Teams

Sunday, March 13th 10:00 am: DIY Now, or Someone Else Will 11:30 am: How to be Beautiful: More Hi-Fi Design With CSS 3:30 pm: The Elements of Meaningful XHTML 5:00 pm: How to Build Your Brand with Blogs Monday, March 14th 10:00 am: Does Design Matter? 11:30 am: How to Inform Design: How to Set Your Pants on Fire 3:30 pm: Startupland: A How-to Guide to Starting Your Own Company 5:00 pm: Design Eye for the Idea Guy Tuesday, March 15th 10:00 am: Typography for the Screen 11:30 am: Low-Resource Rich-Application Development: Flash, .Net & CSS 3:30 pm: Spam, Trolls, Stalkers: The Pandora’s Box of Community

Of note are 3 fellow Arizona (at least!) residents besides Aaron who will be attending SXSW 2005 in Austin. James Archer, Paul Nixon, and Molly Holzschlag. The latter two I know are on panels—go AZ pride! James posted his tentative schedule last week, and Aaron posted about it today.

If there are any other Arizona South Byers out there, let me know—I’d love to talk to you and meet you at the conference. Also, for SXSW veterans, I know it’s late notice but any tips on what to bring and what not to bring? It should be a great time!