Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Back to the stone age

Back when the Internet was new and exciting, when Yahoo ruled search
and before Mark Zuckerburg had learnt to build websites..... There was
utter mayhem.
(Note: I'm talking about 12 or more years ago here folks, it's not
like this was last week)

You see back then the amateur ruled web development. Anyone with a bit
of understanding of how to build a site could cobble a few pages
together and charge a few hundred pounds (or much, much more) for the
service. These sites were a mess..... flashing text on multi-coloured
backgrounds and nasty graphics were often seen an innovative and basic
usability, let alone accessibility, wasn't even considered.

This was partly because web standards were still emerging, partly
because the technology was so new (so browsers were so basic and often
flimsy in their rendering of HTML code) and partly because nobody knew
any better; from digital agencies half-putting this stuff together
through to clients who thought they were being clever by trying to
reinvent the wheel (e.g. sticking the main navigation on the right
hand side of the page).

Fortunately, over the years standards evolved and more people actually followed
them. Browser got more complex and in-turn developers learnt they had
be more rigorous in their coding. But more than this.... we learnt
what actually worked.

And now, just a few years into the mass use of Social Media, we have
the same thing all over again:

  • Wacky ideas from agencies who are trying to do anything to differentiate themselves
  • Poorly considered support for social activity in the long term (a lot of people still think it is something they can pick up and drop just as quickly)
  • People with very little experience touting themselves as experts - and charging a fortune

It makes me wonder if we learnt anything first time around.....
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