What Is This All About?
The web moves at an incredible pace, and increasingly services are being demanded live. With a live web, users have come to expect real-time (or close to) feedback. Indeed, by virtue of being a consumer of web services, one finds oneself inundated by notifications and feedback from said services. Welcome to the fast web. Your attention is required now. Here, and there, and everywhere.
The slow web is simply this: it is not the fast web.
It is our belief that the Slow Web movement, like the Slow Food movement, is a truly progressive way forward. We wish to provide good examples of Slow Web applications, and attempt to draft guidelines for what qualifies as a Slow Web application. We also wish to explore further the psychology and reasons for a Slow Web.
Ultimately, the philosophy behind the Slow Web movement (as it currently stands) is that users should have a life. This is antithetical to the fast web's main drivers — the idea of instant gratification i.e. "I want feedback, I want it now". While there most certainly are merits to a real-time web, it is the philosophy of the Slow Web movement that users should not be slaves to it.
Habits form by virtue of feedback loops. Habits that hook one to an intravenous drip of constant feedback from the internet eventually incapacitate users 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.
We believe that one should be doing what one is best at doing, instead of being drip-fed a constant stream of information and being pressured to respond instantly. There are many clever people out there trying to solve this problem. How often has one heard the phrase "email is broken"? Companies like Undrip are putting their best minds to work, trying to solve the information overflow problem.
It is our belief that engineering new solutions to a fundamental problem like this is akin to merely treating the symptoms and not the illness. We believe that a truly progressive way forwards is the Slow Web.
- The Slow Web, by Jack Cheng
- The Slow Web by Rebecca Blood — one of the first articles on the net on the Slow Web
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