I don’t want to log in to your website

Elizabeth Lopatto wrote this great piece about how junk web design practices are ruining the web; the login forms, the popups, the chatbots, the everything! Our standards are so very low when it comes to web design and Elizabeth points at it all and says why:

One of the major problems with salesbros is that they think “always be closing” is a mantra to live by because they didn’t understand the point of Glengarry Glen Ross, which is that salespeople are nightmares. That’s why there’s always some silly pop-up chat at the bottom of every website now. No, Pamela — if that is your real name — I don’t want live assistance booking my yoga class. You are hogging valuable screen real estate.

The problem is that it’s real hard to argue against shitty design and product decisions. If junk data rules your organization then it’s almost useless fighting; when you see your customers as links in a spreadsheet or tiny dots in a graph then every terrible design decision under the sun can be justified. Heck, in most cases junk design isn’t permitted but preferred.

(If the numbers are the most important thing, then your website will suffer the consequences.)

Anyway, Elizabeth continues and reminds us that, away from the web, we can live a life without ads, without constant junk and distractions. In real life, “they” cannot have everything from us:

...there are no real public spaces on the internet. Here in reality, I can fuck off to a park and hug a tree and sit on a bench and do stuff without ads, without anyone trying to track me, and without having to pay a dime. There was a time within my memory when people tried to make websites feel like semipublic places — you could hang out on someone’s cool blog and enjoy yourself. Sure, there might be a banner ad, but that’s like paying a buck for coffee and then just sitting in a diner all day with free refills.

To be honest, I don’t know if I share this same optimism as scammers and con artists have always been a part of the web and always will be. Plus I don’t think it’s healthy to look back and claim that there was a golden age of the internet because it’ll encourage us to think of the open web as over and absolutely eff that.

(If you want to see a better web, you have to make it.)

Anyway, I still agree with almost everything in this piece and one of my favorite things about making a website is not including any of this junk that Elizabeth describes. No upsells, no whatevers. I like it when a website just…ends. I like it when I get an email about the thing I signed up for. I like it when the unsubscribe link works. I like it when a product stops existing after I stop using it and doesn’t try to consume my life with garbage.

The products I adore the most are the ones I want to return to because they respect me as a person, and clearly don’t see me as a point in the data.

That’s how I see this website, too. Over the years I hope this approach has let folks trust me a bit, knowing that I’ll never pilfer their information and I hope this has garnered my website with a small reputation; I’ll always respect your time and attention as the precious things they are.

[blogs about elden ring again]