Christian Heilmann: embrace openness for the web’s future

In a blog post based on his recent WebVisions Barcelona talk (available via YouTube), Mozilla developer evangelist Christian Heilmann has urged those in the web industry to “make space for the next users of the web”.

Heilmann said that the web industry needs a reminder of the original concept of the web, which was “fundamentally designed to work for all people, whatever their hardware, software, language, culture, location, or physical or mental ability”. Now, though, instead of a “fiercely flexible” web, he argued too often that sites “overload users on the desktop with lots of widgets and an avalanche of content” and “we limit the mobile interfaces to the bare minimum, in many cases not even in a working fashion”. In the latter case, he reasoned companies often resort to mobile app doorslams to deal with the failure.

That the industry has in part lost its way seems surprising, given the range of courses and tools now available, but Heilmann suggested reasons why this has happened, including a tendency to fix things that are “not a problem yet”, and people working in areas they’re not well-versed in. He remarked you’ll too often hear designers responding with “just use a jQuery plugin” for a development problem, “rather than finding a much simpler, more scalable and easier to understand JavaScript solution”. Partnering, he suggested, was a smarter option.

He also thought people within the industry should communicate more, share more knowledge, and recognise the inherent hardware-agnostic nature of the web. Without doing so, he warned “the web as we know it will play a second role to closed systems”. As always, these would eventually fade away, but the diversion would be a “big waste to spend lots of money and effort when we already have something that works”—namely the open web.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

The Creative Bloq team is made up of a group of design fans, and has changed and evolved since Creative Bloq began back in 2012. The current website team consists of eight full-time members of staff: Editor Georgia Coggan, Deputy Editor Rosie Hilder, Deals Editor Beren Neale, Senior News Editor Daniel Piper, Digital Arts and Design Editor Ian Dean, Tech Reviews Editor Erlingur Einarsson and Ecommerce Writer Beth Nicholls and Staff Writer Natalie Fear, as well as a roster of freelancers from around the world. The 3D World and ImagineFX magazine teams also pitch in, ensuring that content from 3D World and ImagineFX is represented on Creative Bloq.