A few weeks ago I found this post by Jack Cheng. It really struck a chord with me. The idea of replacing the “fast web” to an equivalent of “slow food” is exactly what we need at this point. As Jack Cheng puts it so eloquently:
What is the Fast Web? It’s the out of control web. The oh my god there’s so much stuff and I can’t possibly keep up web. It’s the spend two dozen times a day checking web. The in one end out the other web. The web designed to appeal to the basest of our intellectual palettes, the salt, sugar and fat of online content web. It’s the scale hard and fast web. The create a destination for billions of people web. The you have two hundred twenty six new updates web. Keep up or be lost. Click me. Like me. Tweet me. Share me. The Fast Web demands that you do things and do them now. The Fast Web is a cruel wonderland of shiny shiny things.
Another great quote from the slow web manifesto page:
Habits form by virtue of feedback loops. Upon forming habits that hooks one to an intravenous drip of constant feedback from the internet, one would eventually be incapacitated by the sheer amount of information flowing through. As such we feel that the fast web is creating unhealthy feedback loops which will lower one’s efficiency and productivity in the long run.
I battle with this problem as well. That’s exactly why I am doing a masters degree in studying how users cope with information overload.
Cheng’s definitions include:
Timely not real-time. Rhythm not random. Moderation not excess. Knowledge not information. These are a few of the many characteristics of the Slow Web. It’s not so much a checklist as a feeling, one of being at greater ease with the web-enabled products and services in our lives.
Example services that I’d add to the slow web movement: Timehop, Instapaper and Summify (now part of Twitter) and Buffer (to a degree). To a certain extent, I’d like to include my own service Tweekly.fm to it. Instead of having to actively post about music to social-networks, the user has to do nothing, automatically posting an update each week.
Some pieces I’d like to add to the Slow Web Movement:
- Information comes to the user, curated, when they expect it.
Like Cheng mentioned: rhythm vs random.
- Set limits on consumption.
No infinite scrolling. No refreshing. If the content is done, it is done. (Like a newspaper for news; or timehop as opposed to memolane). No constant stream of more.
- Very little control of amount of content.
This might be contentious (if you disagree put it in the comments), but I feel there must never be a perception that there is more content available. It ties in with setting limits on consumption.
We need to stop using the web, and the let the web serve us.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you agree? Does anyone have more examples of sites doing it like this?