Forgoing web candy

I've made an interesting personal discovery - I enjoy content. I mean the "primary" content. I had plenty of time this morning to parse my RSS feeds with QuickNews thanks to a Barista-in-training. I was getting a bit tired of slow page loads and decided to enable "fast mode" on the Treo's Blazer browser, which ignores the download of CSS and images. My my, what a difference. The improvement isn't just speedy page loads, it is the absence of web candy.

I refer to web candy as images, CSS, advertisements, etc that are not a direct part of the content "of interest". Web candy is growing to consume available bandwidth. First it was background colors. Then animated GIFS. Then heavy formatting. Then Flash advertisements. Yikes, what will happen when we have fibre to the home? I bet on High Definition (HD) web candy :)

By disabling CSS and images I don't get colors, pretty borders, or extensive formatting. I do, however, get to the meat of the content quickly. My (mobile) browsing is significantly more pleasurable without web candy. So this brings me to the following question. Is web candy overshadowing the primary content?

In a similar vein, have you hit a trade rag home page lately with Firefox or IE? Not me. I prefer the RSS feeds. Check out CNet News.com, The Register or eWeek. Heck, check out my blog. Yikes. Lots of visual noise. I'm not going to check, but I bet it's 100K+ of data for a 500 word article. Now check out your favorite blogs in your feed reader. I just subscribed to my own blog via Bloglines to see how it looks. I can describe how it looks in one word: Enticing. No, not because it's my blog but because the RSS feed cuts out all of the crap the under-developed-yet-hyper-active right side of my brain put on the blog. It's bare naked and to-the-point content.

As for the Barista-in-training, I left a tip. I have to train em' early to remember my drink :)
 

Comments:

RSS is great, and I too use it a lot, but one can mitigate the "crud overload" that is pervading the Web these days by running Privoxy(.org). That filters out much of the useless extras and makes surfing both faster, easier and yes, more fun.

Posted by Kimmo on January 02, 2007 at 05:28 PM PST #

So true. I've seen my share of websites with so-called content developed by graphic designers (I have nothing against them, as I'm married to one) but it's mostly flash animations, and blinking images and advertisements and a whole bunch of annoying little things and....no actual content. The web itself, as in HTML-encoded information sent via http, was an invention by scientists with the intention of relaying content. Oh yes!. But, enter the .COM era and you get all these COMmercial interests and a lot (A LOT) of it today is based on eye candy, presentation, look and feel and so on... But luckily there is still some real content out there! And, yes, hitting mailboxes, lassoing cattle or zapping a chimp is truly annoying.

Posted by Oscar on January 03, 2007 at 09:23 PM PST #

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