Hello! It looks like you’re writing a blog post – would you like help with that? chuckles
Me and my colleagues at Microsoft have decided that the world needs more Clippy – the adorable animated paperclip. To help with that, we’re bringing a new feature to Edge 6.0.
Web Developers can now use
<clippy> to call up an animated virtual assistant.
I’ve spoken to several people in Microsoft, and we all agree it is a good idea.
We looked through a number of great software projects (mostly from Microsoft) and found lots of inconsistencies in the way Clippy is presented and invoked.
So I’ve written a spec for how I think it should work. I’ve not actually spoken to many other developers about what their user needs are. I’m pretty sure I’m representative of the majority viewpoint.
Because users keep buying and using our products, I’m going to assume they all love Clippy as much as I do. The little rascal! So, no need to waste time worrying about how users actually feel.
You can start using Clippy on your websites right now!
Fear not my friends! I don’t work for MS and this isn’t a real proposal. The above is a satirical look at the current state of web “standards” development.
Web standardization according to Google? "Nobody outside my team has reviewed or approved of the explainer in my private repo, but if we implement and encourage devs to use it, surely our competitors will agree to implement it [because our market dominance determines compat]". https://t.co/aeOCxhLulb
— fantasai (@fantasai) June 13, 2019
Google have decided the world needs a
<toast> element. For the record – I think that’s probably a great idea.
But my views don’t matter much. They shouldn’t matter much. I’m not the average user. I’m not representative of all developers.
The way Google has gone about this seems to be…
- Ooh! I have a cool idea!
- Other people in Google agree with me!
- Other Google projects could benefit from this?
- Let’s stick it in Chrome!
- Oh, guess we should tell the community what we’re doing.
(I’m deliberately simplifying and probably being a bit rude to the people behind this.)
Here’s (my) idealised version of how a new element should be introduced:
- Have a cool idea
- Speak to real users and see if it meets a user need
- Publish the (vague) user research and start discussing with peers around the world
- Design and iterate based on feedback
- Test with users. Pass/Fail based on beta testing
- Publish test results
- Work with community to improve things
Look, I get the “Move fast! Break things!” attitude. And I think it is exactly right that Google should experiment with the web. We all should! And, again, I think that
<toast> is probably a useful addition to HTML.
But the way Google has gone about introducing it to the world betrays a huge lack of empathy for the poor sods who have review standards, for other browsers, for users, and for the broader Web community.
It feels like a Google-designed, Google-approved, Google-benefiting idea which has been dumped onto the Web without any consideration for others.
I know that isn’t the case. And I know how many dedicated people have worked hard on this proposal.
For old fart like me, this feels like the Microsoft Internet Explorer days. MS dumping features onto the web and everyone had to do what they say because they’re the biggest kid in the playground.
I think the chaps at Google probably think they’re the good guys. That they’re doing the web a favour. That users love them.
They genuinely don’t see that people feel they have to give in to Google’s demands or face irrelevance.
To reiterate – I think
<toast> is a good idea. But Google have presented it in such an arrogant way – and with no user research – that I’m getting afraid of what they’ll do next.
It looks like you’ve finished writing this blog post. Would you like help publishing it?
(And, a special note for Geeks like me. All analogies break down eventually. They are a rhetorical device used to illustrate a problem space – not to fully map it out. Please don’t let the inconsistencies of the analogy be the focus of your comments.)